Surrey Attendance Matters: Breakfast Program
$14,910 raised
15% of $100k goal
28 contributors
0 days left
Ended Nov 29, 2019

Attendance Matters, which has been supported by The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School initiative since 2011, has resulted in a substantial drop in absenteeism rates among children from kindergarten to grade three, according to statistics collected by the Surrey school district.

Statistics show the highest rates of chronic absenteeism occurred in 2010/11, before AM was launched and supported by Adopt-a-School. Chronic absenteeism is defined as a child missing more than 10 days of school in a school year. Statistics show that chronic absenteeism among children from kindergarten to grade three will make them less likely to graduate than other students.

Among the AM schools studied, the drop in absenteeism among chronically absent K-3 students averaged 12 per cent, in some schools it was as high as 50 per cent.

For example, Hjorth Road Elementary 42% of students in grades K-3 were chronically absent.  This number dropped by more than half, to less than 20 per cent of K-3 students being chronically absent by 2014/15, the most recent statistics available.

The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School initiative currently supports 20 Attendance Matters programs in Surrey. The school district has applied to AAS for $100,000 to pay for the Attendance Matters breakfasts, which plays a major part in attracting needy children to school.



The Vancouver Sun’s seventh annual Adopt-A-School campaign is under way, and we are again asking readers to consider the plight of children who come to school unfed, improperly dressed and suffering the psychological effects of living in poverty.

We are not talking about a few children.  We are talking about thousands.

They are found in every school district in this province, no exceptions.

Last year the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund, which administers Adopt-A-School (AAS), distributed $604,000 in emergency funds to 86 schools across the province to help alleviate the most two most common forms of suffering — hunger and lack of proper clothing.

And while much of the money was spent in this way, there were also grants to help teachers heal some of the psychological damage to children whose lives are so blighted by poverty that they are arriving in school at their wit’s end.

Money was spent on supplying and equipping sensory rooms where children can decompress and be soothed into a state where they can function and learn and on other therapeutic programs that teachers tell us they need.

“Since AAS began in 2011 we have sent almost $4 million to teachers and principals struggling to deal with the effects of poverty, in almost all cases, without resources,” said Harold Munro, editor of the Vancouver Sun and The Province and chair of The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund board.

When a parent shows up at a school in tears with no food in the home and no money to buy any what are they supposed to do?

It happens regularly in schools all across the province.

“For teachers and principals it must be heartbreaking and this newspaper does not think it right that this burden should be borne by them alone,” Munro said.

“We are all in this together, these are our children and it is immoral to ignore the wants of the poor.”

AAS has:

* Provided money for emergency food vouchers.

*  Supported programs that distribute food in order to get impoverished families through the weekend.

* Bought beds to get children off the floor, or to replace those infested with bedbugs.

* Bought lice kits.

* Provided money to a special unit that deals with the most vulnerable students in danger of being sexually exploited or tempted to join gangs for no other reason than not having enough money to buy a meal or a decent winter coat.

It has got to the point that we are seeing not only concern from adults but from students.

The last campaign showed that children in the Gulf Islands were bringing extra food to feed hungry friends who had none. In Langley three teenagers set up their own program to feed needy families over weekends.

This campaign tell the story of how high school students in a Vancouver school have been moved to organize their own breakfast program after discovering  that a quarter of the school’s students were without food at home at least once during a month.

So the problem is obvious to school districts, principal, teachers and now other students.

The Vancouver Sun has never said a critical word about any political party in relation to the AAS campaign, except to ask the government of the day to do something.

We are repeating that request to this new government.

In the meantime we are again asking our readers to support our campaign. Your generosity has carried us this far.

You have fed thousands of children, helped hundreds of families.

“We can’t do it without you,” Munro said.



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