When the gap is wide, children can fall through the cracks

Living in poverty is often linked to an increase in health-related issues in kids, including poor nutrition, obesity, increased behavioural and emotional problems, as well as low academic achievement.

Help close the achievement gap

Research shows, as early as kindergarten, children from middle income families already have a 6-month academic advantage over children from low income backgrounds due to access to early reading and pre-school education that aren’t always available to low income children.  By grade 5, low income children can be 2.5–3 years behind academically. This gap continues to widen each year and ultimately affects their future academic and career opportunities as well as their overall health.

YMCA Beyond the Bell gives children the additional help they need to keep pace with their grade level and peers. It is a school year program that focuses on minimizing the achievement gap.

What sets Beyond the Bell apart from other programs

There is no other program like it in BC; it removes barriers and offers measurable outcomes. Beyond the Bell is offered free of charge to 40 identified vulnerable students at George Pringle Elementary School, in West Kelowna. The very low ratio of 1 leader to 5 children sets this program apart from any other.

It is a community based program, which addresses a serious community issue and is only successful through community support and partnerships.

Beyond the Bell includes programming in the following areas:

  • Homework help
  • Recreation
  • Healthy snacks
  • Values Education: Caring, honesty, respect and responsibility
  • Literacy (reading, writing, thinking and speaking)
  • Numeracy (math games and number recognition)

How is the program funded?

YMCA Beyond the Bell is made possible through the generosity of donors. It takes time to build trusting relationships and to ensure measurable impact on the children and families who participate. Therefore, the YMCA is committed to securing a minimum of three-years of funding to ensure continued impact.

The annual cost per child to attend YMCA Beyond the Bell is $2,000. The tangible societal costs per high school dropout are estimated at $10,782.

We thank these community leaders for supporting kids of the YMCA Beyond the Bell program:

We need your support to ensure seamless continuation of this program. Currently the YMCA of Okanagan only has enough donor funding to run this program until the rest of the school year. YOU can transform exasperation into inspiration, apathy into ambition and hopelessness into the power to feel that anything is possible.

Consider making a gift to YMCA Beyond the Bell today. 

For more details on the success of this program, check out our Beyond the Bell Report Card.