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When the gap is wide, children can fall through the cracks.

Living in poverty is often linked to an increase in health-related issues in kids, including poor nutrition, obesity, increased behavioural and emotional problems, as well as low academic achievement.

Help close the achievement gap.

Research shows, as early as kindergarten, children from middle income families already have a 6-month academic advantage over children from low income backgrounds due to access to early reading and pre-school education that aren’t always available to low income children. By grade 5, low income children can be 2.5–3 years behind academically.

This gap continues to widen each year and ultimately affects their future academic and career opportunities as well as their overall health.
YMCA Beyond the Bell gives children the additional help they need to keep pace with their grade level and peers. It is a school year program that focuses on minimizing the achievement gap.

What sets Beyond the Bell apart:

There is no other program like it in BC; it removes barriers and offers measurable outcomes. Beyond the Bell is offered free of charge to 40 identified vulnerable students at select schools. The very low ratio of 1 leader to 5 children sets this program apart from any other. It is a community based program that addresses a serious community issue and is only successful through community support and partnerships.

Beyond the Bell includes programming in the following areas:

  • Homework help
  • Recreation
  • Healthy snacks
  • Values Education: Caring, honesty, respect and responsibility
  • Literacy (reading, writing, thinking and speaking)
  • Numeracy (math games and number recognition)

Our Report Card

87% of children improved their reading level by at least one grade level during the 2021-2022 school year. Read our report card for a detailed view of the program's impact.

Read the Beyond the Bell Report Card (PDF)

How is the program funded?

YMCA Beyond the Bell is made possible through the generosity of donors. It takes time to build trusting relationships and to ensure measurable impact on the children and families who participate. Therefore, the YMCA is committed to securing a minimum of three-years of funding to ensure continued impact.

The annual cost per child to attend YMCA Beyond the Bell is $2,000. The tangible societal costs per high school dropout are estimated at $10,782.
We thank these community leaders for supporting kids of the YMCA Beyond the Bell program:

We need you.

We need your support to ensure seamless continuation of this program. You can transform exasperation into inspiration, apathy into ambition and hopelessness into the power to feel that anything is possible.

Consider making a gift to YMCA Beyond the Bell today. 



Impact Video

We are a local charity determined to build a healthy and thriving community. Whether it’s homework help for vulnerable kids, mindfulness strategies for youth, or heart health programs for seniors, see the range of who and how we are helping individuals at all ages and stages.

Life-long learning starts here

Dannie, a single mother of four children, struggled to support her children’s academic progress on top providing for their basic needs. The Beyond the Bell staff and volunteers gave her children a safe community space and guidance through their unique challenges.