Belka Enrichment Center’s programs and services include: Summer Camps, Weekend Programs, Mobile Computer Labs, Parent Programs, Senior Wellness Programs, Mentoring Programs and High School Programs. Periodically we also facilitate specialized project-based programs.
Academics and Academic Games
Each day of the week is assigned an academic subject and campers do one hour of school work in this subject. Campers are placed in groups based on their age. All assignments are explained, marked, and corrected by camp counsellors. We commence each day by engaging in academic games which require campers to be interactive, do strategic thinking, and some basic mathematics calculations.
Within a week of the camp, selected campers who demonstrate some type of leadership skills are trained then assigned a mediator. As a mediator they assist in the smooth operation of everyday activities, settle minor disputes between campers and inform counsellors/supervisors of other problems. Mediators receive incentives for their role and a Belka Camp Leadership
Arts and Craft
For a specified period each day campers are given the opportunity to express their artistic skills in the required manner assigned. This could be in the form of describing a situation, current events, or giving them various objects and art pieces from which they create their unique artistic piece. Each year campers with outstanding abilities are selected to design posters/flyers and other materials for Belka.
Campers daily engage in medium to high level indoor/outdoor activities such as soccer, basketball, water balloon fight, and various other games. This usually for two to three hours split in two periods. This is an important aspect of camp as we believe that physical activities promote healthy lifestyle, teamwork, a sense of belonging and mutual respect for each other.
Campers participate in indoor swimming twice a week where they swim and have fun playing pool games. They are supervised by their counsellors/supervisors in and out of the pool. Additionally there are lifeguards who supervise as well.
Each year, we take our campers on several fun-filled trips such as Wonderland, Wet’n’Wild Toronto, Picnics, Bowling, and lunch at Manderin. Campers are closely supervised based on the required ratio for campers to staff. We also have educational trips to the Science Center, Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Our Weekend Sports and Recreation Programs include Basketball, Soccer, Table Tennis and Drumming. The structures of the programs include training by professionals, tournaments and free play.
These Programs affirm our commitment to help create healthier minds and bodies and improve the lifestyles for our children, youth and senior citizens. Statistics have shown that more than half of Canadians are inactive which greatly increase our healthcare cost through diseases and health conditions associated with the lack of physical activities.
In addition to the physical aspect of our Weekend Programs, it is also a great opportunity for participants to relax and interact with each other as well as mentoring.
Mobile Computer Labs
In 2004 the inspiration for this unique project came from our Summer Camp Program in Jane-Finch. The youth workers and volunteers were passionate about the need technology support to complete their homework and school assignments. This they thought would help to improve their academic performance and outcome in school. They needed updated computers and high-speed internet service.
At the time Belka had two donated TTC buses that workers and volunteers were refurbishing. That’s when the idea came about; why not merge the two initiatives? Let’s refurbish the buses into mobile computer labs! This would make it possible for the communities to have convenient access to technology.
The initiative has been very successful and always in demand. With additional bus donations from TTC, the program is being expanded into other Toronto neighbourhoods where the service is needed.
Parents Tea Meeting Program
Belka’s Tea Meetings started when the organization’s staff and volunteers realized that there wasn’t enough support for parents and guardians at the community level. It was discovered that many of them were worried about their lack of knowledge to effectively interact with institutions and state agencies they regularly come in contact with, which can be an intimidating experience for them. These parents and guardians identified the need to meet together in groups to share problems and concerns to develop common solutions and learn from each other. This has proven to be an effective network for problem-solving and access to resources and advise for a broad spectrum of immigrants including both recent and long-time immigrants. They learn to advocate and accept greater responsibilities for their lives, improve their children’s welfare and establish meaningful and cooperative relationships at the community level.
Interpreters are available at the meetings and audio and visual materials as well. The program is a part of the organization’s mission to help people become validated and find personal enrichment in the society and communities they live, study and work in.
Meetings are held on Saturdays in our Mobile Labs. There are structured discussion topics but participants are welcome ask advise on other topics.
SENIOR WELLNESS PROGRMS
With seniors living longer, it’s important for them to remain physically and mentally active to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our Senior Wellness Programs are designed to achieve this. The programs consist of physical, recreational, social and mentoring activities to achieve wholesome, all-rounded outcomes.
Program activities include Senior Table-Tennis and Inter-Generational Table Tennis with Youths, Healthy Meal Classes, Knitting Classes and Mentoring. Seniors have access to a safe space where they can be active and interact with their peers as well as youths. They have an opportunity to relate to and mentor our youths as well as getting to learn and understand issues from their perspectives.
Belka recognize the diverse, rich skills set and depth of experience members of our communities possess. Being aware of such and also knowing the inequalities many youths and young adults face, caused us to introduce Mentoring Programs that encourage them to believe in their potentials and achieve their goals in life.
Our mentoring activities are strategically intertwined in our group activities such as sports, recreational activities, tutoring and homework sessions as well as one-on-one sessions. Our mentors are individuals with great passion to succeed and see others succeed as well. They ensure that mentees know that they are valued and supported. They include teachers, coaches, and members of professional communities and youths.
Our mentees are often youth and young people facing personal challenges. They are in need of specific guidance and need role models to help them move beyond a hurdle or stumbling block. They are mentored to achieve positive resolutions and if needed, referred to other organizations/agencies or social services such as housing or employment.
HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM
Ontario is the province of choice for more than half of Canada’s total immigrants. This creates a large immigrant community in the Greater Toronto Area especially in the Jane/Finch and surrounding communities. The children of these immigrants are placed into the education system without adequate preparation. This leaves them unable to graduate in a timely fashion because they lack enough credits to graduate.
Belka provides a solution to this growing dilemma by offering high school courses that can be achieved over the summer. Students are taught a range of courses by qualified and experienced high school teachers. Then they are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom setting.
Courses are offered to people of all ages. Individuals seeking to fast track their high school credit and those seeking to gain a high school credit to complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma are all welcome.