39Reasons: Reason#23 Out of School Care

This story is among the #39Reasons I am running as a Trustee for Vancouver School Board (VSB). Each story is based on my experience working at the VSB for over 7 years.

A fiend for style, leather belt and dangling earrings with her carefully scrunched long curly locks 

"I can handle it" 

I met at her school, the fifth one she had finally arrived at

She told me that she used to play volley ball on the school team 

She struggled with English and Math and when I asked her she didn't know what was holding her back, she just couldn't concentrate and if she didn't catch a part of the lecture, she felt deeply lost

Flipping between English and Spanish in her head, that loss would turn into chapters misunderstood and the illusion that she wasn't a serious learner

She was moved to our alternative class and she said she liked the class size and found it easier to ask the teacher questions when she missed a concept or didn't fully grasp what was being shared

Her principal called one day stating that she was struggling, that she was leaving early almost every day

I was concerned, reaching out, I knew her mom was working long hours to pay for the basement suite they shared with mice

She was a single parent with three kids

It wasn't her mom's new third job that got in the way of her education, she now had to pick up her little brother after school

She would bring him to our space after-school sometimes and she set him up with colouring while she focused on her homework

She was patient with him despite the multiple interruptions and request for new colours, papers and appreciation for his works of art

I mentioned her teacher's concern and that's when she shared her realities 

Thankful that she could share what was going on, I relayed this back to the teacher and we were able to understand 

I mentioned she didn't want to say anything because she didn't want them to think she couldn't handle the new school along with her de-facto parenting responsibilities that didn't affect her big brother the same way it affected her

What if we delivered affordable and accessible after-school care?

What would learning and life look like for students like her? 


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