How well connected families feel within the community is a critical component of a child’s wellbeing. Community Services’ programs empower parents to reinforce and reconnect each strand of their children’s safety net so they can succeed at home, in school and in the community. Accessible services are available to families where they live, work and go to school.
Never Too Late
High school completion support for adult students
The Never Too Late (NTL) program provides academic, social and emotional support at no cost to adult students who want to complete their GED (General Education Development), an Alberta Education High School Equivalency Diploma.
Utilizing a community building approach, the Program is specifically designed to build a sense of community, reduce barriers and increase social emotional support to facilitate academic success for adult students. Positive impacts extend not only to adult graduates but to their families and NW communities.
The NTL 2011-2012 Retrospective Study found that
• 36% of parents were more comfortable helping their children with school work and 20% of parents were more involved with their child’s school
• the average increase for those who indicated they changed employment after graduation was $17,000
School Support Program
Work in schools with students, families and teachers to ensure a student’s success in school
Students in elementary, junior and senior high school may experience conflict with others due to bullying or clashes with their peer group that often get in the way of them having a successful school year.
Having trained School Support Workers who are easily accessible with a consistent presence allows for ongoing preventative and early intervention measures.
The Multicultural School Support Program assists immigrant and refugee families acclimatize to school systems. Gaining the trust of the students and their families is crucial to building cultural capacity and adaptability.
In 2012-2013, 98% of parents surveyed stated that the School Support Worker helped improve their child’s success at school.
Families and Schools Together (F&ST)
A school-based program that enhances parent/child relationships while connecting parents ta their child’s school.
F&ST has been proven to help children by enhancing their relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and other members of their community. The program brings together 10-12 families for a series of nine weekly multi-family sessions at their children’s school. A trained team that includes a parent, school staff, a social worker and a prevention partner leads the meetings. Depending on the cultural and ethnic composition of the community, other partners may also participate.
The design of Family and Schools Together (F&ST) is simple, yet its structure embodies a unique and complex interplay of tested techniques and strategies. It gives parents and their children an opportunity to spend quality time together, enjoy each other more, and participate more fully and comfortably in their community.
92% of Parents agreed F&ST helped improve their relationship with their child, with school personnel and other parents.
FASTWORKS is a two year program that engages families in low cost, parent led community events.
Baby F&ST is an eight-week program offered twice a year in partnership with the Calgary Board of Education at the Louise Dean Centre. We work with new, young moms, their infants or toddlers and the child’s grandparents to promote healthy family relationships and prevent issues from arising. Baby F&ST is a three-generational group program where community professionals and volunteers help the parents build relationships with their families and strengthen their relationships with their babies.
Athletes Mentoring Program
Connecting at-risk children and their families with post-secondary athletes to encourage high school completion
Student athletes, aged 18-24, from Calgary’s University and SAlT teams are matched with elementary and junior high school students at-risk for school failure and who would benefit from the support of a positive role model.
These high achieving student athlete mentors help their mentees build confidence, character and social skills through positive, casual interaction. The program is not designed to develop sport skills in the young mentees, but uses the safe group forum of athletic team practices to host mentoring sessions.
Athletes Mentoring Program (AMP) Is changing children’s attitudes about furthering their education. One Mother whose son is a mentee in AMP noticed that rather than saying “If I go to University” her son now says “When I go to University”.
Young parents can be great parents
For over 30 years, the Teen Parent Friend (TPF) mentoring program has matched young mothers up to age 24 with a volunteer mentor. In 2013 the TPF program underwent program review and redesign, re-launching as Motherhood Matters. The Motherhood Matters program provides expectant and parenting young mothers with hope and a place to belong at this critical moment when they are negotiating their parenting identities amid the transition to adulthood and new responsibilities. The mentoring relationship provides guidance, companionship, and support, while engaging expectant and parenting teens in quality time activities. Research has shown mentoring of young parents is an effective strategy for reducing social isolation along with improving positive life choices and children’s developmental outcomes.
83% of young parents reported experiencing less stress and social isolation in 2012
Innovative Community Initiatives
Accessible services in the community to meet the needs of diverse populations
The Bowness Neighbourhood Leadership Initiative supports residents and community groups in taking a leadership role in improving the quality of life in their community. Residents have come forward with opportunities to meet neighbours and lessen isolation by offering craft nights, a community Facebook page, a community closet clothing exchange and a kite regatta.
An Aboriginal Outreach worker at CACY (Calgary Achievement Centre for Youth) connects with Aboriginal youth at risk of not completing their educational and employment goals.
In 2012, the Aboriginal Support Worker at the Calgary Achievement Centre for Youth decreased barriers for 67 Aboriginal youth to access programs and resources