Kateslem After School Program…

Last night, my wife and I were invited to a Birthday Party/Fundraiser, at the John B Pub in Coquitlam.

It was an opportunity to get a group of friends together, and make the husband of one of the volunteers REALLY uncomfortable, while supporting a program that his wife helps out with!

Win Win!!!

It was great seeing our friends again, and catching up…  on what was new with the old crowd.

As always at these types of events, the volunteers were busy selling raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets and chances on a sheet full of Lottery Tickets.  They’d sold tickets through the Pub, for a burger and beer combo.

I think we’ve all been involved in these types of fund-raisers, and we’ve probably all chipped in to help friends/family or groups we support, raise money.

Just before they had the prize draws, they called for quiet, to make some introductions.

Sitting in a corner, I was at first not paying much attention, as these were all folks I was sure I didn’t know.

As they continued, my ears perked up.

There was a Federal Senator…  A Mayor…  Several City Councillors…  Others, whose names I recognize as being important community builders.

And I had heard NOTHING about this program.

So, plagiarizing massively from their brochure, let me tell you what I NOW know about the Kateslem After School Program.

Kateslem After School Program provides vulnerable youth with a positive, consistent, supportive and safe after school environment.

Kateslem aims to empower youth through experiences and skill development.

The individual’s abilities and needs, in relation to their family, peers, school and community, are valued and respected.

They help the kids with homework.  They also help with literacy, life, health, nutrition and hygiene skills.  Promote Community Service and leadership.  Provide recreational activities.  Build friendships, and provide lessons in conflict resolution.

But what does it ALL MEAN ?!?

The word Kateslem is a First Nations word meaning “coming together”.

Kateslem currently operates After School Programs in Coquitlam, at Banting Middle School and Como Lake Middle School. The Programs run concurrent with the school year, from September to June.

Kids between the ages of 11 and 14, from Banting Middle School or Como Lake Middle School in Coquitlam, are eligible.

There is no registration fee for the youths, although they are required to bring one item of non-perishable  food per month, to help those in need in the community.  The students can be referred by a teacher, parent, or counselor.  Or the students can sign themselves up.

From everything I read, and the people I met… this is a great program, and one that other communities should probably get on board with!

The group itself is currently supported by teachers, school administrators, parents, community workers, and civic leaders.  They are working together to see Kateslem through the next step of its progress… becoming a Registered Charity… so that sustained growth and progress can continue.

If you would like more information, would like to help, or know of a Youth At Risk who could benefit from the Kateslem Program, please contact Ms. Karyn Bell, Coordinator.  Her e-mail address is KarynKateslem@yahoo.ca or you can call her at 604-250-9332… or you can follow them on Twitter !!!