Changing the lives of inner-city youth on their path to graduation and a strong future.
About Vancouver Homework Club Society
Vancouver Homework Club Society( VHCS), operating at Britannia Secondary since 2001, offers two programs that change the lives of inner-city youth on their paths to graduation and strong futures.
Homework Club (HC) offers high quality tutoring, free of charge, to approximately 350 youth in a welcoming and supportive environment that includes hot meals, computer and internet access, school supplies, transit tickets and volunteer tutor-mentors from UBC, SFU and the local community. Youth Engagement Project (YEP!) focuses on youth more seriously at-risk of dropping out, and in addition to HC supports, provides the one-to-one support of Youth Workers, financial incentives, employment opportunities, post-secondary bursaries and mandatory mentoring sessions each month. Both programs have been highly successful in supporting youth to engage with school, and view graduation as an achievable goal. We are uniquely imbedded in the community – the executive director is also a teacher at the school, while staff lives in the neighbourhood and are acutely aware of the stressors faced by our youth. We enjoy a strong relationship with the school counsellors and administrators, and partner with a number of other agencies working in the area including Frontier College, CLICK, and Graduation Strategy at Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre.
The programs serve youth aged 12-19, across a range of grades and ability levels. Youth live predominantly in the Britannia catchment, but need not attend Britannia Secondary in order to receive support. Operating Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 3-6:30pm throughout the school year, the two programs serve approximately 370 youth each year, while also providing hundreds of hours of volunteer experience to young adults considering working with children and youth in the future. HC operates on a drop in basis, and students attend as needed, while YEP! participants must complete a required number of hours of both tutoring and mentoring, and commit to daily attendance at school, in order to receive the financial benefits of the program.
VHCS draws its students from Vancouver's poorest neighbourhoods, including the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona and Grandview-Woodlands, neighbourhoods where poverty is endemic. The Vancouver School Board has designated 30% of the students at Britannia as having special needs. In addition, the parents of students in these neighbourhoods frequently are unable to supply their children with the necessary academic, emotional and developmental supports at home. Club programming is based on the premise that these at-risk secondary students need both qualified academic tutoring and social development to succeed in school and in life after school.
VHCS provides both programs with an annual budget of approximately $100,000. Sources of funding include individuals, foundations and corporations. Approximately one third of our budget is administrative and includes the salary of the executive director, while the remainder of our budget is directly in service of youth, including financial incentives, hot meals, bursaries and youth workers.
What People Are Saying
"Before Homework Club, I felt dumb all the time. Now I don't feel dumb. I just come to the Homework Club and they help me, and now I am passing all my classes."
— Solan, 2015 graduate
"All my stress is gone whenever I walk into YEP! because of its social and friendly environment. Friends and staff who will support you like a family with everyday struggles and challenges and help you see those obstacles through."
— Muhaned, 2016 Graduate