Students from Thunderbird Elementary and Vancouver Technical Secondary schools came together on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 for a BBQ celebrating the end of another successful year. Organized by LIFT (Learning is First), the event commemorated the contributions of many East Vancouver students.
LIFT is a free program dedicated to helping low-income youth succeed in high school, with the longer-term goal of promoting health and success beyond graduation. The organization provides tutoring, mentorship, recreation and targeted financial support to over 600 youth in East Vancouver and Surrey in grades 6 to 12. It places a special focus on the pivotal Grade 7 to 8 transition.
"Our coordinators are dedicated BC certified teachers with lots of youth work experience. They are a passionate group," said Heidi Bensen, community schools advisor for LIFT. "The kids that participate in LIFT are an inspirational bunch. Being celebrated like this means the world to them, and I'm so excited at their success."
The BBQ saw about 150 attendees of all ages. In addition to some remarks from program leaders, students enjoyed BBQ hot dogs and watermelon, held a dance-off and anxiously waited to see if their ticket was chosen in a prize draw. Perhaps sensing the significance of the gathering, the sun even broke through the rain and clouds for the duration of the event.
Murray Anderson, program supervisor at LIFT, made some brief remarks, thanking all the students for their participation in the program and for being dedicated to personal success.
"This is such an important program, and I'm very proud to be a part of it," said Anderson. "These kids are an impressive bunch and I'm honoured to celebrate their hard work at the end of another school year."