The EXCEL (Excite, Challenge, and Empower Learners Program) has grown tremendously since its inception in September 2013. EXCEL is a supervised after school homework program that supports kids from Grade One to Grade Six at McKee School who could benefit from additional support with their schoolwork. Each Wednesday throughout the school year, students get to meet up with EXCEL Program Mentors for tutoring and mentoring.
“We were thrilled that EXCEL did so great this year,” says Brittney Hislop, BGCBigs Community Program Facilitator. “Mohit ran the show and we doubled from last year. We had more kids and more mentors, and the kids actually got more one on one attention!”
Madame LeBlanc is a Grade 4 Teacher at McKee School; two of her students participated in EXCEL this year. “I think it’s awesome that these kids can have an adult to relate to and get help from,” she says. “Whether it’s with school work, or as an extra adult relationship in their life.”
At McKee, many of the kids come from new or young families. “It’s a relief for parents to know that their kids have a place to go to work on homework and get extra support,” Madame LeBlanc explains. “Parents work so hard and when they get home, they want to enjoy their child and not just have to focus on homework.”
Jessica Ornella, one of the mentors, notes that one of the kids she worked with most often over the year hated math homework in the beginning. “Now he comes excited with extra copies of his math homework so we can practice together. He tells me it’s now his favorite subject,” she says.
Hayley Friesen, another volunteer, says the program is more than just helping kids get their homework done. She’s noticed a huge boost in many of the kids’ confidence and social skills. “Plus, they are all excited about getting good grades,” she says.
The kids also had lots of positive things to say:
“I like EXCEL because it’s fun and we get our work done faster and get ahead of the class.”
– 10 year old boy
“It’s fun and helps me learn math, science, social studies, and everything else. They [the mentors] take care of me and they help me.”
– 9 year old girl
“The mentors taught me never to give up!”
– 8 year old boy
Mohit, the Founder and Director of the EXCEL Program (a BGCBigs volunteer) is incredibly proud of everything EXCEL has been able to accomplish in the past two years. “Just seeing that we were able to support 22 kids who are truly excited about learning and recruit 25 mentors who are dedicated to helping students learn and grow is so amazing! We frequently collaborate with teachers and often hear how having that extra support has helped the students in their education, and how it’s helped them increase their confidence and strengthened their belief in themselves that they can achieve anything they set their mind to!”
We can’t wait to see what great things EXCEL accomplishes in 2015-2016!