Building on the success of
the PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) program, the
Resource Centre for Youth (TRC), and First Steps Housing,
which are helping level the playing field for children and
youth who live in poverty, we must now invest heavily in
quality early-childhood learning, childcare, and other supports
for parents from low income neighbourhoods. Early childhood
development interventions generate long-term benefits. An
early childhood and parent centre has a multiplier effect
where interaction among moms with young children accelerates
learning, increases confidence, and improves access to services.
Early Learning Centres
St. John the Baptist/King Edward School is home to one
of four demonstration Early Childhood Centres in New Brunswick.
The Early Learning Centre is a prime illustration of interagency
cooperation. Childcare, pre-school, parent programs and
additional resources will be available this fall.
School Supports / PALS / Community Schools
There are two programs, in particular, underway to support
- The Community Schools designation by the Province of
New Brunswick. Contact Erica Lane for more information.
- Businesses partnerships with local schools in the Partners
Assisting Local Schools initiative, for information contact
Youth Engagement and Leadership
Youth living in poverty who experience limited academic
success can build skills and confidence in after school
programming designed to meet their unique needs. Programs
with a youth engagement philosophy are intended to capture
the imagination of youth, build on their assets, and provide
experiences they may miss otherwise. The program evolves
to meet the changing needs of the particular youth it serves.
In addition, building youth leadership is a central tenant
to youth engagement. There are two examples of neighbourhood-based
youth engagement programming in Saint John, in Crescent
Valley and the Old North End. The following organizations
support children and youth in Saint John. Organizations
are seeking ways to better integrate youth supports.
High School Completion
Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative’s Education
to Employment Working Group turned its attention, in 2005,
to helping First Steps Housing Project develop an alternative
high school for young moms who had dropped out of the regular
high school program. The Dr. Christine Davies Education
Centre opened its doors at First Steps in 2006. Early results
are demonstrating that the students are making significant
progress in achieving their high school diploma and moving
on to further education and employment. The Working Group
is now examining additional ways to address the barriers,
experienced by “at risk” teens and young adults,
to staying in school. With funding from Vibrant Communities
Saint John, the Human Development Council prepared the report
Pathways to Education in preparation for a Youth-at-Risk
forum held November 3rd, 2009.