Win 4 Kids Finalist- Toronto Foundation for Student Success
Beyond 3:30 is a free after-school program that currently runs in 16 middle schools located in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods. Beyond 3:30 provides students with a safe place where they can have fun and engage in physical activity.
Over 1, 200 youth between the ages of 11-14 are currently enrolled in beyond 3:30 and they attend 3-5 days a week. The program runs daily from September to June during the critical hours of 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
In the communities where beyond 3:30 sites are located, there is a high percentage of immigrant parents, many who need to work multiple part-time jobs to sustain their families. There is little or no money for organized sport. Students in these areas are often left alone while their parents are working and are more likely to become involved in dangerous or negative activities such as gang related violence.
Currently only 9% of boys and 4% of girls meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, especially those living in neighbourhoods with low average incomes and high proportions of immigrants. It’s a challenge for students to engage in physical activities outside of school requirements.
Michelle Bowen, a GoodLife Fitness Member says, “Through these various activities beyond 3:30 attempts to keep kids engaged and occupied in the after-school hours to prevent them from roaming the streets where criminal activity and mischief tend to occur in these neighborhoods.” She continues, “I nominated this program because I understand the importance of physical activity and the love for sports when there is usually nothing else positive to turn to. Beyond 3:30 provides this opportunity for youth in a safe environment.”
Beyond 3:30 focuses on helping youth develop healthy habits. Each afternoon begins with a daily physical activity session where youth engage in active games. They then participate in cooking a healthy meal while they learn about proper nutrition. Skill-based sports instruction is provided for a full hour. That means the participants are physically active for 80-90 minutes each school day.
“beyond 3:30 is a place that I love. The staff are amazing and the things we get to do are unbelievable. It lets me have a place to be instead of going out causing trouble. It opens many doors for me and since I’ve been going to beyond 3:30 I’ve gotten much smarter and much more mature. If there is any place I want to be after school it’s beyond 3:30.”