The ASLA program gives kids the opportunity to learn, develop, improve and practice math, reading and writing, as well as physical activities and social skills through games and experimental learning.
Geared to children aged 7 to 11, who are demonstrating academic risks, or struggling with literacy, numeracy, social skills and physical literacy, the ASLA program is free of charge, but students are required to register.
Up to 20 students at each school meet two times a week to work on their academic skills as well as develop life-skills and make some new friends. Built upon the YMCA core values of Respect, Caring, Responsibility, Honesty, Diversity and Social Inclusion, the program engages the kids in activity planning and ensures there are a variety of meaningful choices that reflect their interests.
For many, the time spent in the ASLA program has made a big difference in their confidence and enthusiasm for learning, says YMCA Regional Manager Ken Loudon.
One young boy at Swanavon, who was not very sociable and had a severe lack of confidence stood out. “As he continued with the program, his confidence improved substantially. He became more interactive with other students and has demonstrated active participation in all activities,” he said. “With his numeracy skills, he now asks for assistance to double check his work when he’s not 100% sure. He is now enthusiastically interested in attending every week.”
Another Grade 2 student from Hillside has also made great strides in his learning skills, said Loudon. “When he first came to the program he was very shy and scared,” he explained. “Over a very brief period of active encouragement and engagement, he gained more confidence and started feeling more comfortable. In numeracy, he now understands the concept of addition and subtraction, and in literacy he is now ready at a Grade 2 level. His shyness has faded as he has participated in the program and he’s now actively engaging in all activities with a tremendous amount of confidence.”
Loudon noted early indicators show the kids involved in the ASLA program are having good success in catching up to grade level academically.
For Loudon and the YMCA it is organizations such as the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, who through ongoing funding, contribute to the YMCA’s ability to deliver sustainable programming and impact the lives of local children.
“The support also provides the hope of increased educational success in the lives of the children participating in the program,” he added.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. Whether you’re contributing to a fund in your name, supporting a legacy that you connect with or simply wanting to make an impact on community – a donation to your Community Foundation helps to build Smart & Caring communities throughout our region. Donations can be made online here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/5797 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820. Earnings from your gift are distributed to student awards or through community impact grants to numerous innovative charitable projects, large and small.