Success Beyond Limits Education Program

To improve educational outcomes, expand possibilities, and provide support to youth in Jane and Finch along their individual paths to success.

Our Impact Why We Exist

“This year I became more comfortable within myself, my confidence level was high since I loved what I did. Helping the mentees with their needs, sharing my stories with them, and there energy and positivity made our time memorable.”

Shivanee - Youth Mentor

“SBL was another rewarding and purposeful experience for me. I have been teaching in SBL since 2009, directly out of teacher’s college, and I have not taken a summer off since. I love welcoming a whole new cohort of students and working with passed students as mentors. The SBL model is unique and effective but also the people that keep it together are the most vital glue.”

Mr. Tecle - Teacher

“The program has made a tremendous difference in how my daughter feels about entering high school because before she was just nervioud and scared, where as now, she's still a bit scared and nervous but mostly excited thanks to SBL.”

Geeta Gajadhar - Parent

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

The Success Beyond Limits Education Program (SBL) is based on a model that was first piloted in the summer of 2006.  This was in response to glaringly high suspension and drop-out rates in the Jane and Finch community, mixed with unsettlingly low graduation rates. SBL was incorporated as a non-profit in June of 2010 in order to continue to deliver the programming that arose out of the pilot, beginning with our summer program serving 140 youth, and operating at Westview Centennial out of our dedicated youth space the following school year.  At the same time, SBL secured a partnership agreement with the Toronto District School Board, and worked with key funders such as the Jays Care Foundation and the United Way. Currently we have successfully achieved charitable status after years of hard work.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Achieving charitable status
  • Recipients of a Learning and Leading Collaborative Leadership Team Award at the Bhayana Family Foundation Awards Ceremony on behalf of United Way Toronto and York Region.
  • Establishing a formal partnership agreement with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
  • Coverage of our program featuring program staff and youth leaders in The Toronto Star, and on CBC Radio 99.1FM.
  • Two former program participants joining our Board of Directors.
  • A 93% success rate for students in obtaining our summer program TDSB credit.
  • Working as a partner organization with McKinsey Consulting for the Youth Leadership Forums of 2011 and 2012.
  • Having SBL Youth Mentors present at notable forums and conferences, as well as performing at large scale events throughout the city.
  • Completed a highly successful Photovoice Project in partnership with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and the Art Gallery of York University (where the project was installed).
  • In partnership with Westview Centennial, established a Youth Space within the school.

Our Programs How We Do It

Summer Program: 100 new grade 9 students from the Jane and Finch community spend six weeks at York University with SBL where they receive their first TDSB secondary school credit, build relationships with Mentors from Westview Centennial, enjoy enrichment and recreation activities, explore the city through outings, and prepare for the transition out of middle school.

School Day Support: We have four full-time staff that operate our youth space in Westview Centennial from 8am-6pm throughout the school year. Our staff team provides a welcoming space, we meet with students and teachers, coordinate referrals and resources for youth, and address needs as they arise.

After-School Program: Students access SBL Mentors, York University tutors, recreation, enrichment, computers, exam preparation, outings, events, snack and field trips from Monday to Friday, beginning in September and concluding in June.

SBL Youth Space: This includes a student lounge, collaborative and private work areas, computer access, private meeting space, and a constant and welcoming SBL staff presence available to students from 8am-6pm.

The EXPOSE Program Stream: We make use of our long-standing relationships and our knowledge of the potential career interests of students to connect them to opportunities and experiences that will foster new skills, new relationships and expanded horizons.

Employment Readiness and Career Exploration Program: During March break, up to 30 students receive valuable training, skill development, certification, access to employment opportunities, and fresh engagement in how their education connects to their career aspirations.  

Success Beyond Limits Education Program

Throughout the calendar year, SBL offers youth in the Jane-Finch community our Summer Program, After School Program, Youth Space, School Year Student Support, EXPOSE Program, and the March Break Career Exploration Program.

Funding and Program Partners

Funders:

Jays Care Foundation, United Way Toronto, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Jump Start Foundation, TD Canada Trust, Rogers, Ministry of Sport, Culture and Tourism, Toronto District School Board, York University Faculty Association Community Projects, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and Toronto Community Housing.

Partners:

York University, Westview Centennial Secondary School, Art Gallery of York University, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Brookview Middle School, Change Promotions, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Community and Legal Aid Services Programme, Da Spot, Driftwood Community Festival, Drum Artz, Humber College, Inner City Advisory Community, Jane-Finch Family Centre – Da Spot, JustBGraphic, JVS Toronto, Kids Up Front, Manifesto Festival, NIA Centre for the Arts, Norton Rose, Oakdale Park Middle School, Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Seneca College, Team Up Foundation, The Remix Project, Toronto International Film Festival, United Way Community of Practice on Educational Attainment, and Toronto Community Housing.

 

Program Impact

Had an average of 230 youth registered each year- totaling 1840 youth.

Provided a Youth Space from Monday to Friday, from 8am-6pm during the school year serving an average of 70-80young people/per day.

880 TDSB credits have been granted to grade 9 students with a 93% graduation rate.

28,040 volunteer hours to supporting other youth in the community.

Placed 240 youth in the leadership role of Youth Mentor, contributing 67200 hours of youth employment, which hasgenerated a total of $739,200 earned.

Supported 150 senior high school students successfully graduate high school. 

110 credits for 110 new grade 9 students.

40 community volunteer hours required for graduation for 30 Westview students.

Full-time summer employment for 20 senior Westview students working as mentors.

40 coop credits for our 20 youth mentors.

Mentorship relationships formed between 110 grade 9 students, 20 senior high school students, and 30 mentors-in-training.

50% of students transfer students with goal of 100% credit retention.

25 graduating Westview students earn their first university credits.

Mentors complete 30 hours of advance training for the summer program. 

Our impact also includes the following:

Community safety and unity strengthened by bringing divided parts of the community together.

Higher credit retention, student engagement, grades, and graduation through greater support and preparednessfor high school.

Youth in Jane and Finch, many of whom have been written off, emerging into community leaders.

Greater post-secondary access for youth under-represented in college and university.

Improved career and employment prospects through training and employment experience we provide. 

......

From 2008 until now:

•    Had an average of 430 youth registered each year, totaling 1,580 youth.

•    Through our summer program, 822 TDSB credits have been granted to grade 9 students with a 93% graduation rate.      

•    Youth in our program have contributed 28,040 volunteer hours to supporting other youth in the community.

•    Placed 160 youth in the leadership role of Youth Mentor, contributing 98,850 hours of youth employment, which has generated a total of $670,750 earned.

•    Provided a Youth Space from Monday to Friday, from 8am-6pm during the school year serving an average of 55 young people/per day.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"The number of Toronto Region residents with a post-secondary credential has increased by almost 20% in a decade. The percentage of high-school graduates has also gone up from 77.1% in 2001, to 83.6% in 2011."

While educational outcomes for youth in Jane and Finch are our focus, part of how this is accomplished is through engaging the community in schools, which is best accomplished through schools being community hubs.  The perception of empty school space as solely being a deficit, instead of an opportunity to bring other stakeholders into the building is a concern.  

Participant Vignette

"I was giving up on myself because I didn't see any other options.  At one point, SBL was my only option to turn things around.  Nothing else was there for me."

The beginning of high school did not go as planned for Tyrone.  A combination of factors, including the loss of his cousin got the best of him. Absences and lateness piled up, grades declined, and credits slipped through his fingers. With most of his close friends that he came into grade 9 falling through the cracks, motivation to graduate was fading.

When Tyrone was hired as a Mentor for SBL, there were many that questioned whether he was “a role model.”  In that first summer, and in the summers that followed, he thrived in a leadership role.  His ability to understand where youth facing difficulties were coming from, his way of presenting options in a way that is not telling youth what to do, and the respect he has built in the community made him a fundamental part of the success of SBL.

As much as Tyrone was helping others, things got worse before they got better.  After a few substantial set-backs that threatened to negatively alter his life for the long-term, his desire to succeed only grew stronger.

In the past year, he has completed a coop placement with SBL, participated in the completion of three short films (one fiction and two documentaries), presented at conferences and forums as far as Welland, Ontario, and represented SBL to external stakeholders.

He is now a running a weekly film and photography workshop, he works in SBL as a Senior Mentor, he is a part of the Remix Project, and he is on track to complete secondary school with a goal of working with youth after attending university.

"I know what helped me get through what I went through, and I use that to help others get through similar challenges." 

What You Can Do

Success Beyond Limits Education Program

Activities a donation will support

The model that SBL delivers has seen great success in the lives of youth, as well as impact upon the way education can be delivered in Toronto.  Financial support can deepen our impact in the lives of the youth we serve, and can broaden our scope with expansion.

Donation impact

With financial support, we can play our part in closing the "Achievement Gap" experienced by students within the Toronto District School Board, leading to greater success in their lives.  As well, the benefits experienced by youth in the Jane and Finch community can be shared and extended to youth facing similar barriers.

Contact

Mohamed Ahmed and Tesfai Mengesha
Executive Directors
416.395.3320 x20215
Charitable Number: 804825255RR0001

Finance & Governance

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