The latest on what's new at
the Leacock Foundation

It was a busy and eventful summer at the Leacock Foundation! During July and August, 500 underserved youth in Toronto participated in our summer camps, while the Get Ahead Project School's 1,400 students completed their second term and took time off for Winter Break.

Read on to learn more about how your support is making a difference for underserved youth.

LEAP into Literacy Summer Camp engages over 230 youth 

Throughout July, over 230 Grade 1-5 students from our four designated school communities participated in a full day camp program. LEAP into Literacy Camp is designed to help prevent summer learning losses, often referred to as 'summer slideback', which can disproportionally affect children whose families do not have the resources for, or access to academic summer programs. 

For an entire month, LEAP campers actively participated in math and language exercises in small groups followed by experiential learning activities in the afternoon through sports, games and field trips. Highlights of this year's camp include Star Wars Day, a visit to the ROM Museum and Rouge Valley Conservation Park and choosing a new read at the Children's Book Bank.

Thanks to support from the President's Choice Children's Charity, campers enjoyed nutritious snacks everyday to fuel them for a day of learning and fun. A special thanks also goes out to the Young Professionals of Leacock and friends who participated in Leacock Lawn Night. A portion of the event's proceeds gave campers the opportunity to practice mindfulness by learning yoga on new children's yoga mats.

It was a memorable experience which left LEAP campers full of confidence and enthusiasm as they returned to school in September.

Leacock LEADership Camp doubles in size and impact 

Throughout July and August, over 250 youth in Grades 5-8 from some of Toronto's most underserved communities spent a week at the TRCA's Albion Hills for a unique overnight summer camp experience. Thanks to Leacock supporters, we were able to extend the camp from four weeks to eight weeks, resulting in a higher number of youth taking part in the program.

LEAD Campers spent the entire week learning about what it means to be a leader, while participating in outdoor activities not accessible in the city: canoeing, fat bike riding, fishing, building a campfire, hiking and much more. At the Leacock Foundation, we are thrilled to see such success for a program only in its second year.

One LEAD Camper's parent had this to say:
"We have noticed some change in our seems that she has grown as a person because of this experience. We are so glad and so grateful. I hope that this program will continue to be offered for a long time for other kids to also benefit from it, as it definitely transforms kids into better people and leaders."

Winter School builds students' confidence and enthusiasm 

Over the winter holidays in South Africa, over 62 students participated in Winter School. Funded by a generous donor to the Leacock Foundation, this program is an intensive two week academic program designed to engage, energize and empower Grade 12 learners at the Get Ahead College as they prepare for the matriculation exam and post-secondary school acceptance.

The Eastern Cape of South Africa consistently has the lowest matriculation pass rate in the country (57%). Determined to overcome these odds, the Get Ahead College continues to produce a pass rate over 90%. This success can be traced back to additional support provided to students through programs like Winter School. 

The Chairman of the Leacock Foundation's Board of Directors, Mark Damelin, had the privilege of visiting the College during Winter School. Here's what he had to say about his experience:
Leacock funds a two-week Winter School, held every July at Get Ahead College, to prepare the Grade 12 students for their final external examinations in December. I was honoured to receive an invitation to teach Accounting to a class of 22 students. Together, we reviewed the Accounting syllabus by tackling as many past exam papers as possible for one hour a day over the two weeks.
It was a privilege to serve Get Ahead College in this capacity and I will miss the students and staff terribly as they enriched my life beyond measure. A bespectacled young man, got up at the closing ceremony to deliver an extemporaneous speech of encouragement, friendship, hope, faith and trust in his fellow students that exemplified maturity and wisdom well beyond his years. I wondered where this young man might have been if not for Get Ahead. As I approached the learners to say goodbye, a delightful, articulate, softly-spoken and bright young girl, wiped away the tears streaming down her face as she approached me to say farewell.
On behalf of the school, the school's Zimbabwean maths teacher, presented me with a beautifully carved walking stick as he told a story of its symbolism in his culture. As he handed me the walking stick, the school erupted in applause as I hugged him, overcome with emotion, humbled by their innocence and gratitude.
I left Winter School inspired by the students I had the joy of teaching, their quiet confidence, enthusiasm and thirst for learning. These students are proud of who they are and certainly did not give any indication of being from deprived or impoverished backgrounds. I feel more inspired and determined than ever to continue with our work to make Get Ahead a model of educational excellence in Queenstown, and in the Eastern Cape and South Africa as well.
Get Ahead introduces 42 new tablets in the third term
Over the past few years, the Get Ahead Project has integrated tablets into classroom learning, resulting in the College becoming the first school in the Eastern Cape to utilize tablets as a digital resource.

Recently, the Get Ahead Project Elementary School in Queenstown purchased 42 new tablets, bringing student learning to new heights. From the start of third term, students have enjoyed using tablets to record videos, use apps for math revisions and word pronunciation, scan QR codes and research online. 

To learn how to best utilize the tablets, teaching staff are actively participating in professional development training sessions on integrating new technology in the classroom. 

At the Leacock Foundation, we are so pleased to see increased access to technology and virtual learning at the GAP Schools and we thank you for helping to make this possible with your ongoing support.

Saturday Morning Club receives funding for the fall

The Leacock Foundation's Executive Director, Kristine Gaston, had the pleasure of visiting Canada Post recently to receive a grant of $15,000.

This grant will support our Saturday Morning Club program facilitated in some of Toronto's most underserved communities. The literacy-based program for Grade 2-6 students runs from October to May and focuses on further development of reading, writing and oral communication skills for children in a fun way that boosts enthusiasm and confidence.

We are so grateful to the Canada Post Community Foundation for their generous support of our work!

Looking for a way to give back? Become a Leacock member!
You can make a direct impact in the lives of underserved youth. Join or renew your membership with the Leacock Foundation today to unlock the potential of tomorrow's leaders. To learn more about membership, click here!
Become a member or renew today!
Join the Young Professionals of Leacock today!
Questions about the Leacock Foundation?
Contact or call our office at 416-489-9309