Here at Notus, we value making a real difference in this world. Whether it be an organization that cultures and teaches life long values to children, or a program that betters the day to day lives of individuals within our community, one person at a time, Notus cares.
In 2018 we hand selected and sponsored three worth wild causes within our community and strive to up our anti as we move forward, creating lasting, valuable impact within our community.
Notus wanted to reach out to an organization that focuses on children in our community. We saw value in Western City Basketball and their programs. The children were being healthy and physically active, but also building self worth and confidence. This group really places an emphasis that if you work hard and put in the effort, great things happen. This certainly applies to life on and off the court, and we love the message.
“Put In Work. Show Results”
Western City Basketball is an elite youth basketball movement based in St. John's, Newfoundland.
The goal of Western City Basketball is to provide youth athletes with opportunities to play basketball at a competitive level.
At Western City, we offer a variety of different programs from All-Star teams, to Skills Training, all designed to help athletes reach their full potential. Through intense dedication, and a strict curriculum, our goal is to train athletes at an elite level, while enforcing fundamentals.
Notus wanted to offer help within the community where maybe there wasn’t as much support as other organizations had. We discovered the Salvation Army’s Thrive Education Program. We funded small financial barriers that their participants were facing. For example, one participant wanted to apply to a local college, but even the $30 application fee was a barrier. They had another participant that was in college, was doing awesome, had great attendance, but had no transportation. Our funding covered his bus pass for the semester. We loved hearing the feedback and the impact made to individuals who were trying to better themselves.
Overview of Thrive’s Education Programs:
The Education Initiatives at Thrive are intended for youth who have found that the regular school system was not for them, due to differences in learning, social challenges, or other factors.
Thrive has been successfully delivering learning opportunities to youth since 2004 (Youth at Promise), and 2006 with the Springboard GED program. We currently have two full time teachers, an Outreach Worker, and a Program Director providing supervision and support to the program. Our Learning Facilitators conduct intakes using the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (CAAT). This is a standardized literacy and numeracy test that indicates what level/grade the participant should begin with. The test is administered every nine months and should show movement. The Youth at Promise (YAP) Program offers young people the opportunity to work on their foundational literacy and numeracy skills in order to prepare for the GED.
The programming includes the Barton Reading and Spelling System with emergent readers and working on basic operations in math using systems such as Math U See. The General Education Diploma (GED) Preparation program works with youth who have not been successful in the public education system, are 18 years or older, and are ready (i.e. supported to overcome educational barriers, junior high reading level comprehension and number operations on CAAT B entry assessment). On average, learners complete the five exam sections of the GED in about a year.
We offer a 1 to 4 ratio and work with where learners are at in their learning and how they learn best. A lot of our learners have struggled with large class sizes and benefited from being in smaller sized classes.
In June 2015, Thrive became an official online testing site for the General Educational Development (“GED”) tests. The licensed Pearson Vue testing site is open to both participants of Thrive and the general public to allow them to write the GED tests online. We are currently the only organization in the province that offers the GED preparation program and online testing site together. Additionally, we are the only GED preparation program for youth 29 and under.
Unique to Thrive, is our Transition program – a program designed for youth in which classes are tailored to meet their needs. This often means learners are working within both the YAP program and the GED program as learners in this program may test at a junior high level for literacy but may be at an elementary level in numeracy and are not yet ready to attempt high school or ABE III material. Therefore, they often need more in- depth academic support, so the Learning Facilitators work with them to provide a more intermediate level of academic work to prepare them to attend a full-time school or employment program.
The Need for Thrive’s Education Programs
Our Unique Approach - Holistic Support Services.
The Educational Initiatives recognize that in order for young people to achieve success within the program they often require supports to deal with the many other life challenges that they face.
Keeping in mind with the intent to offer support in otherwise overlooked non-profits, Notus also discovered the Salivation Army’s Thrive Street Reach Program.
This program offers an open-door policy for individuals to walk in— in search of resources, and even food. Some weeks they see as many as 250 participants. Sadly, many of these individuals are overlooked by society, as many suffered from drug and alcohol addictions, and even victims of the sex-trade.
Notus offered time and resources on a weekly basis to provide food for individual meals, as well as to purchase ingredients for their weekly meals. We at Notus were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from a group such as the Street Outreach Program and are very satisfied to support such a worth wild cause.
Street Reach is a grassroots outreach service that has been operating in the downtown core of St. John’s since 2005. The program is guided by the principle of harm reduction and has two main components – outreach, and individual support. Street Reach is unique in that it provides support across all age levels, evening drop in (located at Gower Street United Church) and outreach walks (in both downtown St. John’s and Mount Pearl areas).
Drop in support is also provided during the week at our office, located at 108 Lemarchant Road. From this location, staff provide follow up support to individuals with regards to issues such as housing, inter agency advocacy, health, crisis management, etc.
Over the past several years, the program has supported over 1200 participants who count on us for their basic needs, sense of belonging, and the real support they receive. Our services include food, personal care items, outdoor clothing/footwear, telephone access, condoms, information, supportive and caring interactions, assistance with accessing emergency housing, referrals to external services, we are a SWAP satellite site and provide safe drug equipment, information and support. We are also an official site for providing Naloxone kits and training to individuals at risk of overdose.
Street Reach also provides intensive case management to participants who have complex challenges, are experiencing housing instability, and are not connected elsewhere for supports/services. Through crisis intervention, system navigation, advocacy, and one to one support, the Coordinator is able to support their needs and strengthen their connections in the community.
In spring 2016, Street Reach expanded to the City of Mount Pearl and has been met with great success ever since. It was identified that there was a gap in services, and we needed to reach more vulnerable youth. Individuals were travelling from the Mount Pearl area to downtown St. John’s but transportation posed a significant barrier. Thus, it was decided to expand to the Mount Pearl area. Thrive took a new approach by offering the outreach support needed in the community and by holding weekly walks with participants.
Once the program began operating, the number of youth attending the program was evidence to support the expansion and presence in Mount Pearl. The number of connections that staff are making with youth continue to rise, and we have averaged about 175 youth being served at Street Reach Mount Pearl.
Thrive uses an external consultant to evaluate and measure the impacts and outcomes of all our programs. Participants of the Street Reach program have reported positive, life changing outcomes with 73% or current program participants reporting that Thrive has helped provide them with basic items they require for day to day living, and that they feel more positive about their future since they’ve started coming to Thrive. And 63% report that they have a plan or at least some next steps for moving forward in their life.