The YMCA of Eastern Ontario becomes home to academic suspension program

Image provided by the YMCA.

Beginning next month, at the start of the second semester of the 2023-2024 school year, the academic suspension program managed by Youth Diversion, formerly known as SNAP (Student Non-Academic Program), will move to its new home at the YMCA of Eastern Ontario.

According to a release from the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, the ultimate goal of SNAP, now called the Student Impact Program, is to assist students who would benefit from alternative programming to be able to successfully re-integrate into an academic setting. This is done by helping students develop the skills necessary to better engage with the world around them and to keep pace academically with their peers.

The Student Impact Program is a partnership between the operating agency and local school boards.

“We are deeply thankful to Shawn Quigley and his team at Youth Diversions for their dedication to this program that has supported hundreds of students in their learning journeys over the past 20 years,” said Patty Gollogly, Associate Superintendent of Safe and Caring Schools and Program with the Limestone District School Board (LDSB).

“Because of the work they have done, the program is robust and ready to align with the Y’s successful Alternative Suspension Program, a program for students with short-term suspensions.”

The YMCA noted that, while Youth Diversion has delivered the program for the past 20 years, the program has existed locally for the about three decades. According to the release, under amendments to the Education Act (Bill 212), school boards are required to provide programming to expelled and suspended students. These programs must contain both academic and, when suspension is greater than 10 days, non-academic components.

Carey Smith-Dewey, Superintendent of Education with the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board added, “The program is a natural fit with the Y’s existing student suspension program, so it made sense to bring the programs under one roof.”

The YMCA shared that the Student Impact Program is staffed by a direct care worker, and teachers from both school boards. The day is structured into academic and non-academic (cognitive skill) activities. The YMCA of Eastern Ontario will take over the program on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, when the new semester begins.

“With the work we are doing with youth, including the Alternative Suspension Program for short-term school suspensions, it made sense to bring both suspension programs under one roof,” said Rob Adams, CEO of YMCA of Eastern Ontario.

“We have been working with Youth Diversions over the past several months to ensure the integrity of the program during the transition. Youth Diversions selected the Y based on the synergy we have with our existing programs, our expert team that goes beyond our region and our organization that offers a variety of healthy extracurriculars for students to take advantage of.”

In addition to the Alternative Suspension Program, the YMCA is a major employer of youth in the region and has worked with LDSB through its Focus on Youth program to hire several youth last summer, according to the release.

In response to Kingstonist inquiries as to why the program delivery is being transitioned from Youth Diversion to the YMCA, Colleen Gareau, Director of Marketing and Communications for the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, explained that bringing both suspension programs available locally under the same roof just made sense.

“The Y has had good success with its short-term suspension program, with the added benefit of being able to offer access to fitness programs and services that can benefit youth,” she said.

Find more information on the YMCA of Southeastern Ontario on the organization’s website.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!