Every month we receive testimonials from school staff and parents telling us what a positive difference our school breakfast programs make in the lives of their children. We read every single one of them; these stories remind us why we do what we do. Every so often, we’ll receive a testimonial written by a child or a teenager. Those are always special; they are funny, surprising, disturbing, touching.
Recently, we heard from a student in Calgary, Alberta who wanted to remain anonymous (we’ll name her Alice). As an older student, Alice struggles to balance all the demands in her life: ‘I work at a seniors’ residence on weekends and this work obligation means that I have a lot of pressure on me Monday to Friday to get my school work done and also help out at home’. Weekdays are long ones for her because she has to get up really early to get to school.
Alice has to get up really early to catch the bus and get to school.
‘First I catch the #55 bus and then the train to City Hall, then it’s the #24. Sometimes it takes me nearly two hours to get to school. Because I have to study late at night, I am often exhausted in the morning and barely make the bus’. By the time she gets to school, the young student is hungry and more ready for a nap than for her first class. With the majority of the curriculum being taught in the morning, this situation is far from ideal.
This is where Breakfast Club of Canada comes in. ‘The breakfast program at my school allows me to make sure I can stay awake in my classes. Without something to munch on (…) I will fall asleep in class and I can’t afford to do that’. Alice’s busy schedule and multiple responsibilities outside school are certainly a challenge shared by many young students across the country. There can also be many other reasons leading to a child or youth showing up at school hungry, like the lack of food at home, early morning school activities, etc.
Working closely with thousands of schools and volunteers from coast to coast, Breakfast Club of Canada has been giving students access to a healthy meal in a supportive environment before class for over 23 years. This gives children and youth like Alice the best chance to succeed at school, so they can fully pursue their dreams: ‘My grades are everything because I want to get into Nursing next year. Breakfast at school makes all the difference’.