Inspiring deafblind volunteer at Goodfellow PS ensures students eat well

Terence Scott is a 37-year-old volunteer at Goodfellow Public School who makes a big impact in his community, in spite of his deafblind status. With the assistance of his intervener from DeafBlind Ontario Services and a parent volunteer, he bakes muffins for students every week for the school’s Eat Well to Excel breakfast program.

His initiative to help support local children in his community is truly inspiring and the students and staff at Goodfellow Public School are extremely happy to have him as a volunteer.

“Terence has been a wonderful addition to our school community,” says Jennifer Henderson, Vice-Principal, Goodfellow Public School. “Through this partnership and placement he has been supporting our Eat Well to Excel program, but also working on his independence. When he first started, he was really shy, but now he interacts with students and staff regularly. I’m really proud of his progress.”

The goal for this year is to have Terence bake with a student in the morning twice a week.

Terence enjoying a cup of tea at Goodfellow Public School with his intervenor from DeafBlind Ontario Services.
Jennifer Henderson, Vice-Principal, Goodfellow Public School presents Terence with a volunteer certificate.

For someone with the dual disability of deafblindness, finding employment and volunteer opportunities can be challenging. Terence’s interest in volunteering and helping youth matched perfectly with Goodfellow Public School’s volunteer needs, and now the students in the breakfast program have a great start to their school day, thanks to his healthy snacks.

Thank you for all that you, Terence! The students and staff at Goodfellow Public School are lucky to have you.

Big Brother makes big impact through in-school mentoring program

“My Big Brother made me feel like I was worth something, and that was very important to me at that stage in my life.”

Powerful words shared by Steve Osmak about how his Big Brother mentor changed his life when he was a child. Now Steve is a Big Brother to Orion, a student at a Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) school, through the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Barrie In-School Mentoring Program. Steve and Orion meet once a week for one hour at school, during the school year. They read, play games, make crafts – whatever they feel like doing that day.

The SCDSB was presented with a national award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada to recognize the work the SCDSB does in providing mentoring programs in schools. Programs that the SCDSB provides in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Barrie and District include the Big Brothers Big Sisters In-School Mentoring Program, Go Girls! and Game On. Each program provides opportunities for youth to enhance their social skills, self-esteem, physical activity and healthy living.

The award was presented at Oakley Park Public School on Oct. 11, which also supports the BBBS programs at their school.

“I’ve personally seen the difference in kids who have a Big Brother or Big Sister mentor,” says Heidi Cameron-Armstrong, Principal at Oakley Park PS. “This partnership is vital to ensure that our students receive support from caring adult mentors when it’s needed.”

“Studies show that mentoring helps kids stay in school, avoid risky behavior such as bullying, and grow up having more respect for family, peers and community,” says Marianne Arbour, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Barrie and District. “We are always looking for new volunteers for our in-school programs – it only takes as little as one hour a week to impact a child’s life.”

Like Orion says, “It’s nice to have someone to talk to about anything.”

To learn about becoming a volunteer, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Barrie website.

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Stories of Simcoe – Al and Nick

Every journey starts with something small. This past summer, wrestler Jasmine Mian represented Canada at the Rio Olympics. Her wrestling journey began at Innisdale Secondary School and the Kempenfelt Bay Athletic Club with two coaches who saw something special in her. We agree, and we also see something special in these teachers.

Meet Al and Nick.

Al is a teacher at Innisdale Secondary School, and Nick teaches at Bear Creek Secondary School. Together, and with the help of others along the way, they fostered an environment that helped Jasmine get to Rio, and is helping other young wrestlers reach great heights in Canada and around the world.

When Nick began coaching wrestling at Barrie Central, he saw an opportunity to take a team approach to athlete development in Barrie and the surrounding area. With only four students on the Barrie Central team, all in different weight classes, Nick connected with Al at Innisdale. The two schools partnered up for practices to provide their athletes with a better training experience.

With the students wrestling together in school practices, Al and Nick formed the Kempenfelt Bay Athletic Club to let the athletes compete together. Athletes from the club have gone on to compete at the national and international level. One example is Jasmine Mian.

Al first saw Jasmine when she was on his flag football team. He saw an athleticism in her that he thought would be well suited to wrestling, and asked her to join the team.

“It is incredible to see where Jasmine began and how far she has come,” said Al. “Watching her walk in during the Opening Ceremonies made a tear come to my eye. It is pretty impactful.”

Al and Nick encourage their students and athletes to explore and follow their dreams, just like Jasmine. “Just follow a passion. There are many opportunities for success, and not all students take advantage of it. In wrestling, everyone makes the team. There are no cuts, and you can participate right through university,” says Nick.

Al adds, “I remember my experiences from outside of class the most. I tell my Grade 9 students to get out and experience the social aspect of school. Experience a team, a sport, a club. Don’t look back and say you could’ve or should’ve.”

Great words of advice for all of us.

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community.

Photo of Ken

Stories of Simcoe: Ken

Meet Ken.

Ken is a bus driver, and one of his routes is from downtown Barrie to the Simcoe Alternative Secondary School’s south Barrie campus. Students at this location include parents with young children who attend the Young Parent Program, so many of Ken’s passengers are young parents and their infants or toddlers.

Continue reading “Stories of Simcoe: Ken”

Jake Wilson

Stories of Simcoe: Jake and Kathy

Meet Jake and his mom, Kathy.

Jake is a Grade 12 student at Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School, and Kathy is the co-op department chair there. He is an elite-level baseball player who was recently drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Earlier this year, he received a scholarship to Bowling Green State University, leaving him with a big decision to make.

Continue reading “Stories of Simcoe: Jake and Kathy”