Children and families in a number of communities across Toronto received some good news when the RBC Foundation announced support for 14 after-school programs throughout the GTA.
The funds came as part of the RBC After School Grants Project, which has seen the company donate more than $27 million in grants to 248 community-based after-school programs across Canada since 1999.
“We asked some of Canada’s top education experts where we could make a real difference,” said RBC regional vice president Niranhan Vivekanandan during the Monday, Jan. 28 event. “They came back with one answer - after-school programs.”
Youngsters from St. James Town Family Literacy Services, the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, Warden Woods Church and Community Centre and Toronto Council Fire Native Community Centre attended the ceremony, which included a Samba Squad drum performance, a reading by Toronto author Adrienne Kress and an inspirational speech from two-time World Sledge Hockey Challenge champion Kevin Remple.
“The grants are part of our commitment to education,” Vivekanandan said. “After-school programs help accelerate and amplify what kids learn in school beyond school time. They also help them with self-esteem and social interaction and keep them safe.”
Shabana Sohail of St. James Town Family Literacy Services noted support for after-school programs was necessary in ensuring all children have opportunities. Her organization gets kids in the downtown core to engage in physical activities, offers healthy snacks and more.
“Parents get the benefit of knowing their kids have somewhere to go after school,” she said. “We serve an area with a lot of working families and immigrant families who can’t afford daycare. Almost all of our parents are working parents.”
Habiba Abowath of the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office was also thrilled to receive the grant, which will allow her agency to offer homework support, field trips, workshops and more to children five days a week.
“It really opens their horizons,” she said. “We’re lucky, because our homework program was initially funded by RBC and they’re still supporting us.”
The organizations selected offer structured and supervised activities for children between six and 17 years of age and focus on safety, social skills and self-esteem.
In addition to the agencies that attended the funding announcement, this year’s Toronto recipients include the Community Action Resource Centre in Toronto, the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, the Ralph Thornton Community Association, the San Romanoway Revitalization Association, the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club, the St. Leonard’s Society of Metropolitan Toronto, St. Stephen’s Community House, the Toronto Foundation for Student Success and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
The RBC Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2013-14 year. Organizations can apply at www.rbc.com/donations/after-school.html
• Community Action Resource Centre in Toronto - $32,000
• Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre - $39,000
• Native Child and Family Services of Toronto - $20,000
• Ralph Thornton Community Organization - $20,000
• San Romanoway Revitalization Association - $25,000
• St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club – $26,000
• St. James Town Family Literacy Services - $30,000
• St. Leonard’s Society of Metropolitan Toronto - $20,000
• St. Stephen’s Community House $20,000
• Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office - $20,000
• Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre - $30,000
• Toronto Foundation for Student Success – $32,000
• Warden Woods Church and Community Centre $40,000
• YMCA of Greater Toronto $20,00