York U hosts Success Beyond Limits program for Grade 8 grads

On the evening of Friday, Aug. 5, Success Beyond Limits (SBL) held a special graduation ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of 102 Grade 8 graduates from Oakdale Park and Brookview Middle Schools in the Jane/Finch community.

sbl grouSuccess Beyond Limits, which is hosted by York University’s Faculty of Education, is a collaborative, youth-led, community based movement that provides youth with holistic supports to complete their education and experience success in their lives. Their mission is to improve educational outcomes, expand possibilities, and support youth in Jane and Finch along their individual paths to success.

The ceremony was the culmination of SBL’s highly successful summer Grade 9 prep program, which gives students an opportunity to earn their first high school credit before entering secondary school this fall.

More than 200 guests, including the parents and friends of the graduates, mentors, and members of the York community, attended the event held at Osgoode Hall Law School in the Moot Court Room.

sblNow in its seventh year, the highly successful summer program, which ran July 4 to Aug. 12, included morning classes with a focus on math and English taught by five Toronto District School Board teachers, many of whom are graduates of York’s Bachelor of Education Program. Students also participated in activities led by 25 SBL mentors, and included recreational and arts-based activities as well as workshops tailored to student interests.

“Our focus is to provide an environment that fosters educational success utilizing mentorship, a culturally relevant and responsive curriculum and teachers reflective of the students,” said SBL staff member Tesfai Mengesha. “We operate a six-week program that offers youth employment, community engagement, and relationship building within a post-secondary environment.”

Additional highlights of the program included:

  • a Parent Night at Osgoode Hall Law School attended by 60 participants and their families;
  • a Career Day with 10 presenters representing various professions;
  • three chartered school buses that provided daily transportation from Brookview, Oakdale and Firgrove Public Schools to York University;
  • a nutritious breakfast and lunch everyday; and
  • an annual track and field meet.

“SBL is an amazing summer program that is very important to the youth because it is a place where you can have fun, learn, and build relationships with others in the community,” said Amina, a former participant who is now a mentor in the program. “The program exposed me to new activities such as Samba and mock trials. I’m very happy I was a part of SBL for summer 16!”

Learn more at www.successbl.com.