From coast to coast, in every province and territory, dedicated parents, volunteers, and school staff get up early each morning to make a huge impact in the day of these students by providing them with equal opportunities to succeed. The following stories are just a few of the wonderful testimonials to the power of breakfast programs in the schools. We hope you’ll find these stories as impactful and touching as we do.
Emily, student, James Park Elementary School, British Columbia
Hi, my name’s Emily and I’m a Grade 5 student from British Columbia. My dad actually got me into Breakfast Club because he started volunteering, so I went with him and learned how to do all the cool things that the Breakfast Club needs. Like pouring water, making pizza buns… making all the things on the menu (laughs)! That was three years ago and I still volunteer every day because I love serving the other kids, and now my mom comes also so it’s my dad, my mom, and me, so it’s something fun we do as a family.
Lots of kids come with their families so it makes me really happy to see everyone enjoying the food. I’ve gotten to know a bunch of adults who used to be strangers, and now I also am friends with their kids because of that! Kids are getting to know each other better, and lots more people come to school early now so they can join the program, so it’s really fun. Sometime even the principal and teachers eat with us and that makes us happy. We get to know them in a different way and I’ve learned some things about the adults that I wouldn’t have learned if we just saw each other in class.
School Administrator, Johnny Therriault Memorial School, Aroland First Nation, Ontario
Our Breakfast program is as much about serving nutritious food as it is a social event. Without a doubt, our program improves the mental and psycho-social well-being of our students. From time to time we have new students in an unfamiliar school and community, and they are often very cautious, reluctant, shy and introverted. However, as these students begin to settle in, the breakfast program helps them form new friendships. One specific student who was a Tikinagan child, enrolled in our school in Grade 5. She was extremely shy and hardly spoke. She was very hesitant to participate in the breakfast program, fearful to even enter the gymnasium where the program takes place. After some support and words of encouragement from staff, she slowly started to come into the program, eat with her fellow classmates, smile and socialize. It was wonderful to see her smile, talking and socializing with her classmates after only two weeks of coming to our school.
Stéphanie Riedyk, Breakfast Program Supervisor, École La Mosaïque, Alberta
Our school is multicultural school, where students develop new tastes related to the Canada Food Guide. Parents really value what our program offers their kids. One father told me, “this program is a blessing for modest families like ours, who do not necessarily have the means to offer a complete meal to our children and especially the time necessary to do it early in the morning. We are infinitely grateful to you”. What we really love is when the children come to tell us after each breakfast “Mrs. Stephanie, I really liked this meal. Thank you very much, what are we eating tomorrow?” You can not know how happy I am to see the glowing eyes of these little children happy to have eaten well.
LaSalle Elementary Junior School, Quebec
Conversation with Mrs. Donna, Integration Aid
Donna: I go outside at recess with the kids and there’s this one little child who is always in trouble, never listens, you always hear his name being called to come here, stop that, or get down from there. Since stating breakfast late last year, that’s all stopped. Now he comes in, has his breakfast…he’s the happiest little boy.
Club: What do you think it is about breakfast club that helps him the most? The full belly? The social aspect?
Donna: A bit of both. And just having a calm moment to start the day, the calm music really helps. I am so happy with this child. What a good feeling – and what a good feeling for him.
Conversation Mrs. Julia, Teacher
Julia: I love volunteering at breakfast club because I get to interact with the kids so early in the morning. Some of them come in a bit sad so I make them happy by just talking to them.
Club: How is it different than in the classroom?
Julia: Because it’s one on one here. You’re not their teacher so you can have conversations and joke with them. Some of them just need a little hello to make their day and that’s important to me.
In fact, during the interview, Mrs Julia got to demonstrate this when a student came in and said he had put his tooth under his pillow last night, but the tooth fairy didn’t come. Mrs. Julia made a big deal of his missing tooth, congratulated him on losing it and made him feel special.
Conversation with the kids
Club: What’s your favorite thing you get at breakfast club?
Student: Bagels! When we first went in breakfast club our first day we saw bagels! Its soooooo good! I wish we had bagels everyday! (is tomorrow bagel day?)
Other students: Grilled cheese! We love grilled cheese!
Club: so this must be your favorite day!
Students: yes! It’s the best!
Club: I see there’s a lot of people working very hard to make your favorite breakfast!
Student: I was here this morning and I saw Mrs Donna make all this.
Club: I saw when you came in before you gave Mrs Donna a big hug? She’s special….
Student: I love her she’s my favorite! She used to be in my class last year.
Club: it must be fun that you get to have breakfast with her every day now!