Bill Rees YMCA - Education Supports

The YMCA educational supports programs include Alternative Suspension, Book Club, Project LEAP and Youth Transitions Program.

Alternative Suspension

Funded by the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, the YMCA of Northern Alberta, and other community partners.

A useful resource for public or catholic junior and high schools, is for temporarily suspended students as referred from school to the YMCA.

Project Purpose and Scope The Alternative Suspension program has been designed as an out-of-school intervention, which establishes bonds of trust and creates a support network of groups of students that assists them in addressing suspension and/or temporary expulsion issues while supporting a consistent and strong academic focus. The initiative is intended to successfully reintegrate suspended and/or temporary expelled students back into the classroom, as well as to address, at the same time, other behavioural difficulties (such as exhibiting aggressive, impulsive, disruptive, and antisocial behaviours, having delinquent peers or poor parental supervision) that place these youth at risk of delinquency.

Research has well established that systematic expulsions from school are highly related to both dropping out of school and subsequent delinquency. In effect, youth who are systematically expelled (i.e., numerous times in a given school year) are known to also present with other conditions that are related to crime, including school bullying.

Alternative Suspension has been shown to be a successful tool given that individual components of the intervention have been evaluated and proven effective in a range of contexts. The program promotes personal development and independence through educational activities and appropriate interventions, as are required, depending on the nature of the particular problems the youth experiences.

  • Personalized action plans.
  • Personal management tools.
  • Lists of personal and educational resources.
  • Complete reintegration to school strategy.

The project will address the following risk factors: disruptive social conduct, lack of educational commitment, academic difficulties, negative attitudes and values among the target population in relation to school, association with deviant peers resulting from lack of supervision during suspension and expulsion, anti-social behaviour related to self-esteem and lack of parental involvement in their child’s education.

Key Activities

  • Student referrals to the program to be administered by school authorities.
  • Individual assessment of participating youth.
  • Personalized profile of participating youth drafted by youth worker.
  • Intervention sessions lasting an average of 5 days (minimum of 3 days, maximum of 15 days).
  • Mornings entailing focus on academic achievement and afternoon sessions on thematic workshops aimed at reducing identified risk factors.
  • Recreational activities.
  • Reintegration of student back into the school/community and follow up to determines the impact of the Alternative Suspension program.
  • Regular communication with parents.

Project Results and Expected Measurable Outcomes:

Short term

  • Create awareness of problematic behaviour among at-risk youth.
  • Develop self esteem and respect.
  • Improve academic performance and motivation levels.
  • Expand network of social support for youth.
  • Decrease participants associations with delinquent peers.

Medium term

  • Decrease aggressive, impulsive, disruptive and antisocial behaviour in participants.
  • Encourage academic aspirations and motivations.
  • Decrease in-school suspension by reducing tardiness, absenteeism, and drug and alcohol usage and violence towards other youth.
  • Increase the rate of school year achievement.

Long term

  • Decrease Decrease in school drop outs
For more information about the Alternative Suspension program click here to download the Program Information Sheet           
Castle Downs Family YMCA
11510 153 Ave
780 377-3724
William Lutsky Family YMCA
1975 111 St
780 437-8494

Michael Peters, Senior Director

Project LEAP

Does your child need help with reading, writing and comprehension?

Project L.E.A.P. (Literacy, Education And Play) is a skills-based literacy program for grade 4, 5 and 6 students aimed at providing literacy support and positively increasing attitudes towards reading. The program will focus on basic reading, writing and comprehension skills.  A variety of reading materials and skill-based activities will be used to improve reading competence and confidence in a safe, caring and fun atmosphere.

Our 8-week program progressively introduces participants to a specific literacy skill each week.

Your child will be taught the fundamentals of:
•    Grammar and punctuation
•    Sentence structure
•    Paragraph structure
•    Writing with purpose
•    Reading with fluency
•    Identifying main ideas

For dates and more information, click here.

Youth Transitions Program (YTP)

Funded by the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, the YMCA of Northern Alberta, and other community partners.

YTP One-To-One Support

When youth first begin the program, they will work with their youth advisor and complete the intake process. Youth will then meet with their Advisor on an on-going basis and create a plan to move the participant's life in a positive direction. Most importantly, youth advisors are available when participants just need someone to talk to.

Youth advisors are able to provide free supportive counselling, community referrals, advocacy services, life-skill workshops and job-search assistance.

Turn to YTP if you:

  • Are between the ages of 13 and 19.
  • Feel confused or frustrated by a lack of options and would like some help figuring out your future.
  • Need assistance finding a place to stay when things with family, friends, or that special someone aren't working out the way you'd hoped.
  • Need a nonjudgmental person to talk to and provide support while you deal with a difficult situation.
  • Want to learn more about the community support services available to you.
  • Want to find a part-time, full-time or summer job.
  • Want to meet people and try new things.

The YMCA's Youth Transitions Program is a free service focused on providing support to youth (aged 13-19) who are facing barriers in their life. These barriers may be related to school, employment, peers, family, housing, addictions, and pregnancy.

To access YTP services participants are paired with a youth advisor and complete an intake questionnaire. This questionnaire helps to identify the areas in the participant's life that need support. Once completed, youth are able to utilize one-to-one support and/or participate in several of our other program groups. Click here to download the Program Information Sheet.

Program Groups

Urban Life Skills Program
Designed for struggling youth want to make changes while still attending school, work or a day program. This group meets once per week during after-school hours and focuses on self-esteem, anger management, healthy relationships, communication and more.

Anger Management Strategies for Empowering Youth
This is a registered group that meets regularly once per week and examines various strategies and techniques for managing anger. Registration for this program is now closed. The next session of Anger Management Strategies for Empowering Youth with begin in October 2013. Please check back closer to that time for more information. 

Rec. Nights
The goal of our Rec. Nights program is to introduce youth to recreational activities they may not normally get to experience. This free program meets once per week during after school hours and provides an entertaining and safe place where youth are able to participate in new activities and make friends. Contact a Youth Advisor to find out what activity is happening each week.

This empowerment program works to foster positive change in the lives of young women by participating in life skill-workshops, physical activities, crafts and career exploration.

Be Your Own Man
This group is uniquely formatted for young men by combining physical activity with real life information and resource building. Young men will be mentored with YMCA staff and peers to help build healthy relationships.

SKY High
SKY High is a fun outdoor adventure and leadership program that provides an environment in which youth can build the healthy social skills that help develop personal, academic, and career potential. Youth will participate in workshops and fun activities that may include; biking, rock climbing, camping and canoeing. The program works to address barriers to success through group and individual activities. In order to participate youth need to complete a nomination form. Nomination packages are available now for pickup from the Bill Rees YMCA. 

YTP Outreach
All aspects of the Youth Transitions Program are available in the community for individuals and groups to access at no charge.

How to reach us
For general information or referrals contact a youth advisor at:

Bill Rees YMCA
10211  105 Street
Edmonton AB    T5J 1E3
Phone: 780 429-9622
Fax: 780 425-9380

Christine Matheson, Program Supervisor

(780) 429-9622
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