On Saturday, March 2nd from 1-3 pm Phelps Helps will be hosting a celebration for Dr. Suess’ 115th birthday. This family-friendly event is open to everyone and will take place at Phelps’ location: 272 Dufferin street in Stanstead.
Many of Dr. Seuss’ favourite characters will be on-site for Seuss themed crafting stations, read alouds and treats. Join us in introducing some of your favourite childhood stories to your children and creating a new generation of Seuss fans!
“The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go” - Dr. Seuss
Phelps Helps’ Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for local high school and elementary students to build a relationship; mentors are high schools students who gain leadership skills, while mentees are elementary students building confidence for their transition into high school.
Last Friday during the local school’s planning day, our Mentoring Program participants went swimming at the Bishop’s University pool and had a tour of the sports complex. The students had a lot of fun on this new adventure, but what happened outside of these activities was what truly made the difference for these students.
On the bus ride from Stanstead to Bishop’s University, our program coordinator spoke to the mentors about what they find most challenging in high school. The types of concerned expressed by our high school mentors included the stress about what their future career would be, and the path needed to obtain their dream job. Elementary students listened in and even provided our mentors with some great advice about enjoying the process and not worrying too much yet. High schoolers, like many, also communicated how it can be hard to stay motivated when they have a lot of homework to get done. Together, the group of students shared tricks they have used to push through these tough times. Starting with the hardest work first, asking for help, taking breaks, giving yourself little rewards, and attending Phelps’ tutoring sessions were examples of tricks revealed by the students.
After swimming, the tour of the complex and admiring the student-athletes’ photos on the walls, students enjoyed a healthy snack while watching a Bishop’s University basketball practice. Students were inspired by the players. One elementary school student stated, “sometimes school can be boring but if I can look forward to cool sports practices then I would be willing to be good and work hard in class”. Motivation comes from many avenues when it comes to education - athletics was certainly an inspiration to these young students.
Phelps Helps is taking an initiative over Hooked on School days to raise awareness about the importance of work-school balance. Members of our team have stopped in to visit local employers, asking them to promote this healthy balance in their workplace. Tonight, Phelps’ high school tutoring program will hold a short workshop about this topic during their usual session from 4:30-6:00. All students are welcome to attend this 20-minute discussion where methods to achieve a healthy balance between school and work will be brainstormed and discussed with our Education and Career Advisor, Elizabeth.
According to Conciliation études-travail, of the 168 hours each week, students spend approximately 30 hours in the classroom, 12 hours on homework and studying and 5 hours of transportation (realistically, this is likely up to 10 hours for students from the Stanstead area). Obtaining adequate sleep for a healthy lifestyle should make up 60 hours of a student’s weekly routine. Of the remaining 61 hours, 46 are expected to be consumed by self-care, eating, sports, recreational activities and spending time with friends and family - all things that are essential to living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Taking all of this into account, this leaves a maximum of 15 hours (or even less if you consider the added transportation needs of a student in the Stanstead area) for students to spend working.
While the recommendation is 15 hours/week for students to work, reality can be different. However, effectively balancing one’s time and paid work hours is an important factor in educational success. Hooked on School week comes to an end tomorrow, however, it is a priority for Phelps to support local students in achieving this balance throughout the year.
For students looking for a summer job, take note of our Summer Jobs workshop on March 25th, where many local employment opportunities will be revealed for the first time.
Next week is Hooked on School days! This Quebec-wide campaign’s main objective, according to Partners for Educational Success Estrie, is to increase the understanding of everyone’s role and responsibilities in creating conditions conducive to school perseverance. The Stanstead community has battled high drop out rates in the area for years. Phelps Helps offers a continuum of services that support school perseverance. Over the week, Phelps will be holding a variety of special activities to promote school perseverance for all age groups.
At our Sunnyside Elementary Tutoring program, our coordinator has been building up to this week for several sessions. A theme of overcoming failure has been highlighted in read alouds about five famous failures. Students have learnt of famous actors, athletes and icons who have struggled and persevered. A mural has been created with all of the stories and posted for all to see.
Letters of encouragement will be sent from our young high school students to grades 5 and 6 students. These letters will aim to inspire perseverance in our young students, building the foundation for a successful educational career and fostering a sense of community.
A specific focus will be given to school-work balance, a reality for many of our high school students. Effectively balancing one’s time and paid work hours is an important factor in educational success. Our Compass and High School Tutoring program coordinators will be hosting a workshop during our High School Tutoring program on Thursday next week to discuss ways to finding a healthy balance. Additionally, Phelps will be visiting select local businesses to encourage the work-school balance in their employees, asking them to support Hooked on School week by hanging the green ribbon in their window.
Phelps Helps’ Spark program has been running at Sunnyside Elementary since 2013. The program is offered Thursdays after school for grades 3-5 and focuses on hands-on learning through S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Students satisfy their natural curiosity and engage in critical thinking while completing fun team challenges such as building bridges, making slime, constructing balloon-powered cars, creating comic strips and more!
For the month of February, Phelps Helps will offer an opportunity for grades one and two students to take part in a special series of our Spark program. MOTION MONDAYS will be offered to all cycle one students at Sunnyside Elementary during lunch hour. These four special activities will be hosted by our Executive Director, Katie Lowry, and other members of the Phelps Helps team. Motion Mondays will provide participants with a chance to learn through play in the gym, discover new snacks and enjoy a story while eating lunch. Parents interested in registering their children in this one-month offering can fill out the permission slip provided by their teacher this week.
This opportunity is yet another example of how Phelps and Sunnyside Elementary are collaborating to offer the best possible learning environment for children in the Stanstead community. If you are a community member interested in volunteering for this, or one of our other weekly programs, contact our volunteer coordinator by emailing email@example.com or calling 819-704-0799.
Last week, Phelps Helps had the opportunity to visit both Alexander Galt and Bishop’s University to recruit students and volunteers.
At Galt, Jayme had a kiosk in the Networking Zone of the second annual career day: Unlock your Future: Discover Opportunities in the Eastern Townships. This was an excellent chance to speak with students about some recent changes to our High School Tutoring Program, most notably the offering expanding to three evenings (Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday) in both languages, as well as recruit some new participants for the program. As the event targeted levels 4 and 5 students planning their futures, she encouraged Stanstead area students to take advantage of our Compass Program, offering individual support for applying to CEGEP, vocational training, financial assistance, as well as finding employment.
At Bishop’s University, Clea spoke to students about volunteering at our weekly sessions. She explained how volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models. This call for volunteers is not limited to University students. If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, sign up as a volunteer today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 819-704-0799.
Phelps Helps’ Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for local high school and elementary students to build a relationship, mentors gain leadership skills while mentees build confidence in their transition to high school. It also provides opportunities for students to try something new; tapping into a skill or passion they may not know they had!
This past weekend, the Mentoring Program partnered with the Code Club at Haskell Library to expose the high school mentors and elementary mentees to a new skill: computer coding. Computer coding is the process of using algorithms to have a computer perform a specific task. With technology advancing everyday, careers in computer coding/programming are becoming increasingly in demand. This opportunity opened the student's eyes to the field and an educational path in computer science. We would like to thank the Haskell Library and Sydney for animating this workshop. The students were engaged and were surprised in their own abilities.
With the start of a new year, Phelps looking for new volunteers for our weekly sessions (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons). Volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models. If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, Phelps will provide all the training you need to feel confident in your role. Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email email@example.com or call 819-704-0799.
Mark your calendars for our upcoming Family Literacy event on January 26th at Phelps Helps. For a second year, Phelps Helps will be teaming up with Literacy in Action to host an event to celebrate Family Literacy Week, January 20-27th. This event was a great success last year with more than 30 people taking part. The hands-on ‘Arts and Scraps’ activity will have elements for all ages and is open to everyone.
Contrary to popular belief, literacy is not just knowing how to read and write and is not only something we need to develop as children. Literacy includes the skills to effectively read, understand and act on information - increasing one's ability to participate in society. According to Literacy Quebec, literacy is not something you have or do not have, rather it is something that continues to build throughout our lives, but it takes practice. Phelps Helps Family Literacy Program believes that the best way to help young children meet success in their literacy development is by supporting the whole family. This Arts & Scrapes activity with Literacy in Action will provide an opportunity for all family members to participate and foster continuous learning at all ages, while also providing an intergenerational opportunity to participate in a free activity in the community.
A reminder that Phelps will be welcoming back our participants from their holidays on January 15th for weekly sessions. We have more than 110 participants between the ages of 8 and 35 so far this school year but we still have room for new participants. Signing up for Phelps Helps programs can be done at any time of the year - contact us to learn more.
From all of us at Phelps Helps, we wish you a happy and safe holiday! Please take note that our offices will be closed from December 24th to January 2nd, inclusively. All of our weekly sessions (high school and elementary levels) will start up again on January 15th.
Already this school year, Phelps has had 111 local community members participate in one or more of our programs. Many others have attended special events held at Phelps Helps like our Family Literacy event that hosted characters from the popular children’s series Paw Patrol and PJ Masks, welcoming more than 80 individuals of all ages. We have had 35 volunteers this fall who have offered their time to help our participants in our 5 weekly educational programs and another 44 special event volunteers!
This school year is off to a great start and we hope to see even more students, community members and volunteers at our programs in the new year!
December is a month of giving. Not only is volunteerism a gift of your time, but it is also a way to feel a sense of joy, purpose and achievement around the holidays. Volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models.
If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, Phelps will provide all the training you need to feel confident in your role. Our weekly sessions include:
Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 819-704-0799.
We would also like to thank all of those who donated to our 4th annual Winter Clothing sale. Donating items, such as winter clothing, also demonstrates another valuable way to give around the holidays.
On Saturday, December 1st, Phelps Helps and Le Lounge will once again be teaming up for a winter clothing sale. Do you have winter clothing you no longer wear? We are taking winter clothing donations until Friday, November 30th. The sale will run between the hours of 10 am - 2 pm at Phelps Helps’ location (272 Dufferin Street in Stanstead). It will provide low-cost options of lightly-used clothing for the cold months upon us. The proceeds of this event will be split between the two organizations.
At the sale, Phelps Helps Family Literacy Program will be hosting fun learning games and activities. Activity tables will have a range of holiday-themed crafts that will help children explore colors, shapes, letters, numbers and more. Join us to learn simple and budget-friendly ways to turn everyday activities into an opportunity for literacy development. Free educational resources and goodies will be available to all.
Le Lounge is Stanstead’s youth centre run by Michael Di Cesare and Macy Doucet. Located at 10 Phelps Street, Le Lounge offers a safe and fun environment for teens ages 12-17, in high school, to go on Friday evenings.
It was a busy weekend for Phelps Helps with special events taking place in the Mentoring and Family Literacy Programs.
On Saturday, the high school mentors and grades 5-6 mentees from all four local public schools (Jardin-des-Frontières, Sunnyside Elementary, Alexander Galt and La Ruche) joined for their first mentoring event of the year: bowling at Stanstead’s Recreation Centre and Domino’s Pizza. This special activity provided a fun, safe, and comfortable environment where the kids could build new friendships while also sharing the highs and lows of transitioning to high school.
On Sunday, characters from the popular children’s series Paw Patrol and PJ Masks visited Phelps Helps as part of our Family Literacy Program. This free event welcomed more than 80 individuals of all ages into our location in Stanstead. Families had a chance to meet and take photos with our guests, do crafts, listen to storybooks read by our program coordinator, and take home free learning resources. It was wonderful to meet so many new families in the area!
Phelps is looking forward to its second annual 5 à 7 event with local employers this Monday. Local business owners have been invited to attend this social event hosted at Phelps Helps to network with the Phelps Helps team, learn more about the programs we offer and learn how Phelps is able to support them as employers.
This initiative is part of the Compass Program coordinated by Jayme Marrotte and Elizabeth Courchesne. Participation in Compass, which began in 2017, benefits local youth and young adults by providing assistance in 3 key areas: supporting the transition into postsecondary education, reattachment to adult education, and finding employment in the Stanstead area. Specific examples of the work done with Compass participants include: assistance with applications to job postings, educational institutions, and financial assistance, creating CVs, interview preparation, and more.
By meeting with the employers, Phelps’ Compass coordinators are better able to assess which employment opportunities are available, understand the experience necessary for each and match a job seeker to upcoming job postings. It further allows employers to become familiar with Phelps Helps and reach out to us when they have a job to post. If you are a local employer and did not receive this invitation, please contact us at 819-704-0799 or email email@example.com.
For a third year running, Phelps Helps, Border Hockey, Stanstead College and Cab Rediker teamed up on Halloween night for a local canned food drive. Local youth travelled the streets of Stanstead (Stanstead, Rock Island and Beebe) on Halloween night collecting non-perishable items from 6 - 8 p.m, despite the rainy, cold weather. The non-perishable items collected were donated to support Cab Rediker’s food programs.
After completing their homework at the Phelps en français session, six local high school students hit the streets around the Rock Island area. They were joined by ten Stanstead College students who covered Dufferin street and the surrounding area, and a group from Border Hockey tackled Beebe. While firefighters patrolled the streets, the youth were able to hand off their heavy bags of contributions. In addition, five parent volunteers drove groups of children to different sectors in the community.
We want to send a sincere thank you to the drivers, more than 20 local youth, firefighters and all community members who donated this year, for trading in the traditional trick-or-treating to give back to the community.
Last week was a big week for our community organization Phelps Helps. Friday, we hosted our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) with more than half of our 42 new members attending. The Board of Directors was thrilled to announce that Phelps Helps has received Charitable Status from Canada Revenu Agency. This categorical transition comes as a culmination of many months of work and will be critical to the organization’s sustainability.
The AGM was also a time for Phelps to provide an overview of our past year’s work and achievements. The 2017-18 year was one of growth in all aspects of our organization. Our team went from 4 members last year to 7, our volunteer numbers increased to 54, our partnerships more than doubled to now 70 contributors and collaborators, our participants increased from 100 to 160 and even our location underwent renovations to increase our square footage to accommodate our growing numbers.
Our Executive Director, Katie Lowry, presented these highlights and more to the members and emphasized that at the heart of Phelps is the quality and enthusiasm of the team and their willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve participant success through now 9 designated programs. Katie added that the formula at Phelps works because “we support each participant on an individual path to academic and personal success while instilling the importance of community engagement and teamwork”. The Co-Founders also took a moment to recognize the hard work, dedication and leadership from Katie, who has been with the organization since day one.
Last week, Phelps had the pleasure of welcoming a new group of volunteers from Collège Servite. Four students from the high school located in Ayer’s Cliff were accompanied by the principal of the school, François Leblanc. They arrived Wednesday at Jardin-des-Frontières to help support our local organization.
Assisting the Phelps en français- Elementary Program, the volunteers played fun, active games in the gym with the grades 5 and 6 participants. After some physical activity and a healthy snack, the volunteers, including the principal, were paired with the elementary students to work on their homework. Thanks to our volunteers, the students were able to benefit from one-on-one support with their work. The benefits are mutual. While grades 5 and 6 students profited from the support of knowledgeable volunteers, the Servite students also built important leadership skills and learned about the value of volunteerism.
This new partnership, which is similar to the one Phelps has held with Stanstead College since our founding in 2012, is important to ensure our programs to thrive. We look forward to welcoming the Servite group back every two weeks for the entire school year.
For a third year running, Phelps Helps, Border Hockey and Cab Rediker will be teaming up on Halloween night for a local canned food drive. Have your candy and non-perishables ready for the local kids who will be trading in the traditional trick-or-treating to give back to their community. The non-perishable items collected on Halloween night are donated to support Cab Rediker’s food programs. The trick-or-treat food drive will run from 6:00-8:00 pm and will be organized through the streets in Stanstead (Stanstead, Rock Island and Beebe). Volunteer youth will be identified with orange badges. If the collection teams do not make it to your area, we invite you to drop off your canned items at Cab Rediker or Phelps Helps (on the Notre-Dame side).
Are you interested in helping this great cause? Phelps is still seeking 15 volunteer youth to go door-to-door to collect non-perishables. Please help make this year another successful one! To participate please contact Phelps Helps at 819-704-0799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Phelps en français - Elementary program was launched this September at Jardin-des-Frontières. On Wednesdays, students from grades 5 and 6 at the local French Elementary school have the opportunity to participate in the after-school tutoring program with Alvin Sully from Phelps Helps.
“At the beginning of the year, we had anticipated 15 students joining the program over the year” states Alvin “but we already have 17 students enrolled and we are only on our 4th session of the year! This is very exciting for our team and we hope that this number continues to grow.”
Alvin explains how the students have a lot of energy at the end of the day so the sessions always start with 25-30 minutes of physical activity. All students, staff and volunteers join into the games Alvin has prepared with enthusiasm. The students’ favorite game so far this year has been a game called dans la mare sur la rive where they are practicing their reflexes, listening skills and concentration.
A healthy snack follows the physical activity to fuel their brains before getting to work. During the snack, students benefit from a carefully selected read aloud and targeted literacy lesson, lead by Alvin. Then, the long-awaited homework begins.
Volunteers are paired with students to help them with their homework. We are still looking for volunteers to fill this role and become a positive influence in the lives of these young children.
Being a volunteer does not mean being an expert in any one subject; it means being willing to create a positive relationship with a local youth. Phelps provides all the training you need to feel confident in your role as a tutor. Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email email@example.com or call 819-704-0799.
Alvin Sully joined the Phelps Helps team in August 2018 as our Phelps en français coordinator. Alvin was raised in Martinique and moved to Quebec in 2006. He has lived in Laval, Montreal and Laurentians but has stopped his journey in the beautiful region of the Eastern Townships. What Alvin appreciates most about our region is being in nature and the mental and physical well-being that comes along with it. Now settled with his wife and three kids in our region, he is excited about his new role at Phelps Helps.
With Alvin’s background in Literature and Languages and Bachelor of Education in French Second Language, there was no doubt that he would be a perfect fit to run our Phelps en français programs. He has 7 years of teaching experience at the Elementary and High School levels. He believes that education is a journey where teachers provide the tools and support each student needs to succeed. Phelps can support the teachers and students in this journey through our programming. He has already worked hard to arrange for school buses to add a stop at Phelps Helps at the end of the day to bring students to our high school sessions and he has put in place an after-school homework program at Jardin-des-Frontières for grades 5 and 6 students.
There is still space left in our after-school high school sessions; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These sessions are offered to all high school student from the Stanstead area (Stanstead, Stanstead Est, Ogden, and Canton de Stanstead), regardless of the school they attend or their first language. Unlike any other community in the Townships, Stanstead area students can benefit from four hours each week of individualized support from knowledgeable tutors, a safe space with access to the resources needed to complete their work in any subject and in either language, and a healthy snack after a long bus ride!
On Saturday, September 22nd, Phelps Helps teamed up with the elite Stanstead College Hockey players for SKATE & READ with the SPARTANS! This was an exciting event to promote family literacy and provide free skating lessons.
We had 43 elite hockey players volunteer at the event hosting a variety of activities for local families. Educational games were set up for all levels, from toddler to adult. The Story Corner was a fun space for our younger participants who joined the Spartans for a read-aloud of ‘The Rainbow Fish’. Our Health Bar featured a smoothie tasting of four different recipes invented by the Spartans, including one mystery smoothie that had participants guessing its ingredients. Also included in the Health Bar was guided yoga for all levels- even the mascot Sparty gave it a try! Last but certainly not least, the elite skaters paired themselves with the participants to allow for one-on-one skating lessons.
A big thank you to Stanstead College for their continued support and use of their facilities and players for this event.
A reminder that on October 3rd from 5:30-6:30, Phelps will be holding an Open House. This is an opportunity for anyone to drop by to meet our staff and volunteers, see our renovations, and learn about our 9 programs. We hope to see you there!
On September 15th, the Municipality of Stanstead hosted its annual event, Septemberfest at the Stone Circle. This was a wonderful opportunity for the community to get together to enjoy a live band, campfire, inflatable games and activities for children, fireworks and much more!
This year, the Town collaborated with Phelps Helps to congratulate the 25 local high school graduates from the 2017-18 school year. Our mayor, Philippe Dutil, presented the names of each local graduate, 6 of whom were present (see photo). Graduating high school is a big step and something to be very proud of, which is why this opportunity to recognize the students at a community event was very important to both the Municipality of Stanstead and Phelps Helps.
This event was also an important opportunity for Phelps Helps’ Compass Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Courchesne, to inform the graduates about the services still available to them as high school graduates. The Compass Program, which was previously known as the Graduate Support Program, can support community members with transitioning into postsecondary education, as well as returning to education and finding employment. Specific services of this program include support to:
- apply for post-secondary education (CEGEP, University, Voc Ed)
- work out logistics (transportation, housing, etc.) for your new life as a CEGEP or Voc Ed student
- apply to loans, bursaries or scholarships
- figure out your academic or career ‘next steps’
- write your CV and cover page
- apply for jobs
- find out what jobs are available to you
- return to adult education
- and much more!
Contact our Education and Career Advisor, Elizabeth Courchesne by email firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook, for more information or to set up an appointment!
Phelps Helps sessions were launched this week. Students were excited to see our newly renovated space, designed to accommodate our growing participation numbers. These renovations were possible with the support of the MRC Memphrèmagog through their Fonds de développement des territoires fund, and in partnership with RONA A.Fluet & Fils. Our building owner, Gabriel Safdie, gratefully permitted us to make changes to the space to meet our growing needs and better serve the community.
The renovations included the expansion into a back room that can be opened with french doors, providing a private area for meetings. Our once open-ceiling concept in the main tutoring area is now partially covered to provide additional floor space upstairs. A final exciting renovation that took place over the summer was our kitchen.
Phelps has always used its kitchen space regularly to prepare healthy snacks for the sessions, bake during mentoring activities and teach children during our summer camp how to prepare their own meals. Collective Kitchen also borrows this space every other Friday to host their four-hour cooking sessions focused on cost-effective food preparation. These renovations have greatly added to our cupboard and countertop space, increasing the functionality of our busy kitchen.
Parents and community members are invited to stop by, check out our renovated space and talk to our staff and volunteers on October 3rd, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., for our open house.
Stanstead College has been a long time supporter of our community organization, Phelps Helps. Collaboration has ranged from holding fundraisers for Phelps to offering their spaces for program use, free-of-charge. Since our founding in 2012, every Thursday, volunteer Stanstead College students and teachers walk to our location at 272 Dufferin Street to sit with one of our local youth to help them with their homework.
New this year, the elite Stanstead College Hockey players will team up with the Phelps Family Literacy Program for SKATE & READ with the SPARTANS! On Saturday, September 22nd local families are invited to the Pat Burns arena where they will have the opportunity to skate and engage in fun literacy activities hosted by Spartan Hockey players and coaches!
Happy ‘back to school week’ for all of our elementary and high school students! Phelps Helps will be kicking off our weekly programs on September 11th for the 2018-19 school year. This year, two new programs have been added to our schedule: Phelps en français (Elementary) and Family Literacy.
Phelps en français (Elementary) is an after-school tutoring program at Jardin-des-Frontières on Wednesdays. Coordinated by our newest team member, Alvin Sully, this program will provide support for students working on their homework and engage the students in focused activities in Math and Literacy. Every session will include healthy snacks and 25 minutes of physical activity.
The Family Literacy Program will host events throughout the school year with fun activities for the whole family. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for information about upcoming activities and how to sign up. Our coordinator has some exciting ideas in store.
Our weekly programs will take place as follows:
Elementary Tutoring: Tuesdays 2:30-4:00 p.m. at Sunnyside Elementary
Spark: Thursdays 2:30-4:00 p.m. at Sunnyside Elementary
Phelps en français - primaire: Wednesdays 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Jardin-des-Frontières
High school tutoring: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-6:00 p.m.at Phelps Helps
Phelps en français: Wednesdays 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Phelps Helps
To sign yourself, or your child, up for one or more of our free programs call 819-704-0799, visit www.phelpshelps.ca or drop by our offices at 272 Dufferin street in Stanstead.
Last week, Phelps Helps’ held their annual week-long day camp with 21 campers and 6 camp animators from the Stanstead area taking part. The theme of our camp and inspiration for each activity was S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Engineering was a particularly exciting topic for the campers. They built bridges out of spaghetti and created devices that protected eggs being dropped from 10 feet high. The art of music was showcased through a series of activities: campers learnt about sound waves, created their own musical instruments, and a special guest gave a rhythm workshop. The campers also had the chance to explore our community with a variety of excursions; they went swimming at the Lac Frontière Campground, descended into the famous Capleton Mine, and hiked Mount Pinnacle, to name a few.
The camp, while aiming to instill an interest in the sciences, also had a few other goals up it’s sleeve. The importance of a healthy lifestyle was encouraged through physical activity and healthy food choices. Each day, campers were responsible for making their own snacks and lunches, providing an opportunity to learn about healthy food preparation. Furthermore, the structured environment - incorporating a daily routine and guided activities - aimed to prepare students for the return to school over the coming weeks. We even had a few goals in mind with our camp animators. Their roles provided an opportunity to build leadership skills and valuable employment experience. They acted as instructors, friends and mentors to our campers throughout the week.
Needless to say, it was a busy week for our campers and camp animators. We wish you all a wonderful return to school and will be excited to see you at our sessions beginning September 11th.
Phelps Helps is happy to introduce our three new team members for the 2018-19 school year: Genevieve Lalande, Elizabeth Courchesne and Alvin Sully. Genevieve became a member of our team last year when she volunteered for the Phelps en français program and has now been hired as our Programs Assistant. Elizabeth began in June as the Education and Career Advisor. She is your go to person for anything related to returning to school, transitioning to post-secondary education or looking for employment in the area. Our most recent addition to the team is Alvin, who will be running our Phelps en français program. This tutoring program will continue on Wednesday evenings for all high school students and, new this year, on Wednesday afternoons for elementary students of l’École primaire Jardin-des-Frontières.
Phelps is always looking to grow our team with additional volunteers. Passionate volunteers play an essential role at Phelps Helps and our programs would not be possible without them. For the coming school year, we are seeking Francophone and Anglophone volunteers for elementary and high school levels in all subjects. Being a volunteer does not mean being an expert in any one subject; it means being willing to create a positive relationship with a local youth. Phelps provides all the training you need to feel confident in your role as a tutor.
Volunteering with Phelps Helps offers you the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the students in the Stanstead area. Our volunteers develop a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. “Volunteering with Phelps gives me a sense of community, purpose and joy” - Elementary volunteer. Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email email@example.com or call 819-704-0799.
Even with students on summer vacation, the Phelps team is hard at work. Fundraising is a large part of what we do in order to offer each of our programs free of charge. Going into the 2018-19 school year, we will have nine programs - two more than last year. New this year is a Phelps en français homework program at Jardin-des-Frontières on Wednesdays after school and a Family Literacy Program that will take off in September.
Funds were raised to support Phelps’ programs at the Stanstead Reunion this July. The organizers of the reunion invited Phelps to raise money by selling drinks at the “Meet and Greet” event on Friday evening. Through bar sales and generous donations, we raised $658. Furthermore, the Lac Frontières campground donated the $3000 raised at their annual volleyball tournament to Phelps in support of academic perseverance.
On July 28 and 29, we held our second annual charity softball tournament: Stanstead’s Homerun. What a beautiful weekend it was for a tournament. With nine teams coming out to play and many spectators in the stands, it was a successful event. We raised $2900 thanks to our registrations, the canteen and the fact that all four teams placing in the A and B finals generously decided to donate their winnings.
We would like to thank the Lac Frontières campground, the organizers of the Stanstead Reunion and all of our volunteers at the softball tournament for their support.
June means the end of the school year and the end of Phelps’ weekly sessions, but for many of our students, it means a new beginning. They are finishing up one school year and will be diving into next year’s academic challenges in just a few months, taking that next step. Our elementary and high school students are completing end of year exams, the culmination of all the material learned this year. Some of our older students are moving on to cégep, others exploring career options, and some will be returning to high school for their final year. As a dynamic organization, there seems to be new beginnings around every corner; later this month, our space will be undergoing renovations to accommodate our growing number of participants and to adequately support our diverse offerings. To wrap up this amazing year, we will be hosting an end of year party on June 7th from 5-6pm for our 30+ volunteers and 160 participants and their families. We look forward to seeing everyone and celebrating the end of another successful school year!
Phelps’ weekly sessions are winding down, but there is still lots happening at Phelps. Two of our level 5 students, Marissa and Katrina, recently received awards from the Lampe Foundation and Phelps for their school perseverance. They have been attending Phelps for two years now, and
will be pursuing their educational goals at Champlain Regional College in the fall. We are also approaching the end of the school year, which means the exam period has begun and students are hunkering down to study and complete memory-aids and practice questions. One of Phelps partners, Global Excel, decided to lend a helping hand during this stressful time. Every year Global Excel dedicates time to give back to their community. This year, they chose to make Phelps Helps high school students care packages for their exams! With help from the Grace Village residents, each care package has an inspirational quote and essential study materials to motivate our students throughout their exams. A big thank you to Global Excel's Manage Care Team! Moreover, Phelps’ last session will be on June 7th , and students are invited to book individual appointments after that date for specific subjects. With care packages and extra help, we hope our students will excel in their final exams, ending the school year on a good note.
On Saturday, May 12th at 9:30 a.m. the Stanstead 5km Race officially started with the start-gun fired by our mayor, Philipe Dutil, sending 78 racers sprinting ahead. The race has been held annually in Stanstead and organized by Michael Sudlow for over a dozen years and attracts runners of all ages; this year we had runners from age 3 to 80+. For the second year, the race's profits were generously donated to Phelps for its educational and career support programs; this year, the race raised just over $900. The event went off without a hitch, thanks to Mr Sudlow and all the volunteers that came out to lend a helping hand. Elementary students had the option to run the race as a relay, sharing the run with a partner. This year, we had two pairs enter the race from Sunnyside, and we hope to see more next year. High schools were encouraged to participate by entering as many students per school, receiving points for participation and rank of the runners. Stanstead College took home the win this year, with BCS, Galt and La Ruche trailing not far behind. Our family-friendly race will be held next year on May 11th , so keep an eye out for this great community initiative!
Last week, Phelps was lucky enough to have 20 volunteer students from Stanstead College
during their annual community service day. Phelps’ weekly sessions are volunteer based, so with the extra help, we were able to put together a special activity for our Elementary
Educational Program: bionic hands! Students were challenged to think like engineers, building bionic hands with simple materials like paper, straws and string. With this one-on-one help, Sunnyside’s students made some pretty impressive hands that were – almost – able to pick up foam cubes. For many Stanstead College students, this was an opportunity to get to know their extended school community better and to share some of their experience and perspectives with a younger crowd. Phelps students had the opportunity to talk to high school level students who are focused on academics and value the importance of education. It’s great to see youth instinctively encouraging school perseverance!
This week, Phelps’ mentoring program took a trip to Bishop’s University to tour the campus and swim in the indoor pool. Both the high school mentors and their grade 5 & 6 mentees were thrilled to be able to take part in this special Phelps excursion. Not only did this activity provide an opportunity for Phelps participants to get to know each other better in a fun environment but it also gave local youth a glimpse of what it would be like to attend Champlain or Bishop’s.
The Phelps' mentoring program was designed to help develop the leadership skills and
confidence of its' participants while helping to create a greater sense of community among our local youth.
Not only was Phelps impressed by the front flips performed at the pool, but we were very
pleased with the behaviour of all our participants. We wish to thank Bishop’s University &
especially our tour guide Ryan Smith for a fun-filled day!
Every year there is a 5km race that takes place in Stanstead, a simple flat loop along its historic streets and wooded paths. For the past decade, it has been organized by a dedicated local community member, Michael Sudlow. Last year, Phelps had the good fortune to receive the profits of the race as a donation; this year, we are helping Mr. Sudlow coordinate the race. Affectionately referred to as ‘The Stanstead 5km’, the event will be held on May 12th and is open to all, with running categories from youth (under 12 years old) to a master category for 80 years old and beyond. Registration runs from 8:00-9:20 AM at Sunnyside Elementary and the
start and finish line will be in front of town hall, beginning at 9:30 AM. To encourage elementary students to participate, we have also added a relay race option for the youth category as well as a ‘school trophy’ for the high school with a winning score; compiled by calculating the fastest runners and the most participants. Phelps baseball hats will be given to participating youth and the Sunnyside playground will be open to children and families (supervision provided by Phelps). Come out to Stanstead and enjoy the day outside: snacks, prizes and games for the whole family!
For more information about the race, visit facebook.com/PhelpsHelpsStanstead or
This week we would like to highlight a very special volunteer, someone who has been with Phelps since the very beginning, dedicating countless hours over the years as our star math tutor: Lisa Smith. The level of dedication Mrs. Smith carries with her in everything she does has benefitted Phelps in immeasurable ways. She is also a committed board member, showcasing her pedagogical expertise in designing the approach to Phelps programs and her knowledge of the Stanstead area community. Lisa is one of our most knowledgeable tutors as she has been a teacher for over 30 years and is the head of math and sciences at Stanstead College.
Thanks to Lisa’s patience, selflessness, and hands-on approach to math, students have not only experienced academic success but know that they can depend on her consistency and unfailing kindness. Phelps would like to sincerely thank Lisa for her years of support; without her, Phelps would not be the same.
“I like seeing the success that the kids have and the fact that they now enjoy going to school.
They’re really happy with what they’re getting out of it and they’re no longer afraid to be in
school; they don’t see it as a scary place anymore, because they have support.” – Lisa Smith,
Phelps Helps video
The Lampe Foundation, an affiliate of CFUW Sherbrooke& District, and Phelps Helps are
teaming up this year to offer 3 unique awards to students who participate, or have participated,
in Phelps’ programs. Each award focuses on rewarding leadership, perseverance, and
community engagement. The first post-secondary bursary of $200 was awarded to Alesha
Grimes in December, and we are once again putting forward a call for applications. As we
approach the end of the school year, there are two awards for level 5 students planning on
attending post-secondary education, in the amount of $100. The application for these two
awards is due May 5th , and can be found on our website, on our Facebook page, or by
contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage all level 5 Phelpsers to apply!
The LAMPE foundation is community-based non-profit organization who is dedicated to
supporting education. They encourage qualified students from the Eastern Townships by
providing financial assistance through their many different scholarships. Since 1973, CFUW
Sherbrooke & District members have put aside funds for educational awards and the name
‘Lampe Foundation’ was established in 2010.
As part of Phelps’ focus on family literacy, we helped organize an Easter egg hunt in
collaboration with the Colby Curtis Museum. Over 50 kids and parents took part; families milled
around the grounds of the museum in search of a series of 6 eggs filled with treats and a secret
letter. The families then assembled the letters to solve a word problem, showing parents and
children how you can have fun with words. It was a beautiful sunny day and the Colby Curtis
provided treats, hot chocolate and tea for all those present for the morning activity. Free books
were handed out by Phelps to promote reading at home, as well as informational booklets on
health literacy for parents. Phelps looks forward to working with the museum team to
encourage families and kids to participate in other activities held by the museum.
With snow covering our community it may not seem as though spring is right around the
corner, but it most certainly is! Spring is the time of year that employers begin looking for
students to fill their summer positions. Our Graduate Support Coordinator, Jayme Marrotte,
has gathered information on over 20 summer jobs available in the Stanstead area. On March
23 rd , Phelps will be open for youth to discover these job opportunities and receive help with the
application process. Whether you need to make your CV, decide which of the many available
jobs interest you, fill out a job application, or practice your interviewing skills, Jayme and her
experienced volunteers will be there to help. The workshop will be held on March 23 rd from
4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Phelps Helps, 272 Dufferin Street. Make your summer a productive one!
Employers interested in adding summer jobs to this list can send their postings to
Family literacy can be encouraged in many different ways from reading with your kids to learning about numbers and money. It is a way for parents to be lifelong learners and to be more engaged with their children’s education. One of our goals at Phelps is to introduce creative activities that can be designed for young children to learn about letters and numbers at home. During Portfolio Night at Sunnyside Elementary, Phelps put together simple activities for young students and parents to do while they waited to meet with the teachers; molding clay to the shape of numbers and letters was one of the fun options that families had the opportunity to try. By integrating simple literacy activities at home, parents can help awaken a love of learning and reading in their children, helping them flourish at school. This week for March Break, Phelps will be opening their door to families on Thursday, sharing the Phelps library and showing parents how to encourage their children to become active readers through a special read aloud. Families are welcome to join us at 1:00 at the Stone Circle in Stanstead for outdoor games followed by snacks and games at 272 rue Dufferin today.
Teamwork has always been a central part of Phelps. The opportunity to work collaboratively often generates that spark that ignites something truly special. The concept of Phelps started from two individuals brainstorming about how to address a real need within the community, and then reaching out to local resources to make a plan of action. Many community members knew that the systemic issue within Stanstead – one in three students do not finish high school – was never going to be effectively tackled by a single person; local youth needed a motivated team to support them. From the amazing work of our co-founders, to the dedication of our board, to the commitment of our staff and to the enthusiasm of our volunteers, Phelps is one of the best examples of teamwork that I have had the privilege to be a part of. As a small rural non-profit, Phelps has faced many obstacles, but they have been overcome by the creativity and hard work of its team. Teamwork offers support, encouragement and a different perspective. With our younger students, we encourage teamwork through hands-on chanllenges, showing them the infinite number of outcomes possible when working with others. On Tuesday evening, we had 24 high school students arrive after school, ready to study and do homework. As a team, our staff and volunteers welcomed them and made sure that every student was provided the individualized support they needed, whether it was math help, sitting in a quiet corner with one of our laptops or simply talking about the school day while working on a study guide. It was Hellen Keller that once said, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
Hooked on School week, which emphasizes school perseverance, was a busy week for Phelps and continued into this week for Sunnyside Elementary. Last week we asked students to choose a growth mindset quote as a team and make a poster with it, explaining why they connected with that particular quote. “If you can dream it, you can do it” and “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” are just two of the quotes selected by our Phelps grade 3 through 6 participants. On Monday, grade 5 & 6 students walked down from their school to visit Phelps’ space at 272 rue Dufferin, a locale used weekly by our high school students. Our Phelps team welcomed them there, giving them a tour and showing them that once they are in high school, they will still have a place for them to study and get help with their homework. Katie Lowry, our Executive Director, was asked to present during Sunnyside’s assembly on Tuesday. She prepared a topic and a mini-talk about school perseverance, and was going to ask a few Phelps participants to come up and talk about their quote-posters. Much to our surprise, her plan went slightly awry: as soon as the principal announced that Katie was going to talk to the school, the entire group of Phelps participants – over 20 students – got up with her and proceeded to the stage. Smiling, she adapted her plan and continued on, talking about the power of perseverance and how adding ‘not yet’ to the end of your sentence might just give you the courage to learn a new skill or keep trying. “I’m not good at soccer YET”, “I haven’t finished school YET”, “I am not in love with fractions YET”. What an inspiring two weeks!
Hooked on School week is upon us! For this one week in February, schools and community organizations across the entire province of Quebec highlight a topic that Phelps lives and breathes: perseverance. Phelps started in 2012 to help reduce the unacceptably high drop out rates in our area: one in three students in Stanstead do not complete high school, a fact that drives much of what Phelps does. 5 years after launch, we see a change not only in the youth but within the entire community; if you drive through town you will see the white and green perseverance flag outside town hall. Hooked on School week provides us all with the opportunity to speak frankly with our youth about why it is important to stay in school: to continue learning, to get a better job and to have choices. As we asked our students to add their names to a ‘perseverance window mural’, making a commitment to finishing high school, an array of declarations were heard “I’m going to finish high school just to prove them wrong”, “Of course I’m going to finish high school!”, “I can’t see the future, but I want to stay in school”. For Phelps and our team, that is more than enough.
February is Black History Month, and at Phelps, we took the opportunity to talk about this subject with our elementary students during our literacy lesson on Tuesday. In Quebec, we are also heading towards Hooked on School week, when the importance of perseverance is showcased. In a small rural community, Black History Month is an opportunity to learn about a different culture. By discussing historical topics such as slavery and the underground railroad, students realize the full extent of the meaning and importance of perseverance. Phelps’ literacy lesson this week, with the help of a book called Henry’s Freedom Box, challenged students to think about the realities of a different time in history. Our students talked about hope, courage and family, noting the importance of freedom.
This week Phelps would like to highlight the value of collaboration between community organization. Phelps has developed many wonderful partnerships over the last 5 years; all playing an important role in helping Phelps to offer diverse services that truly meet the needs and interests of the Stanstead area community. Last Saturday, as part of Family Literacy Week, Phelps teamed up with Literacy in Action to hold a family literacy event in Stanstead. Literacy in Action, is a volunteer-based non-profit organization which offers free learning opportunities aimed at improving the essential skills people need for work, learning and life. We were also pleased to have Imagine Stanstead, a local project devoted to adult learning taking part as well. With over 25 participants, ranging in age from 3 – 92 years old, the Arts & Scraps Literacy Event was a true success. Thank you to all the families who participated, and to the partners who helped bring a fun learning activity to our community!
Phelps’ weekly elementary and high school sessions have started back up again this week, and we are once again looking for volunteers to help make our programs thrive. We welcome cegep and university students, as well as community members young and old. Over the last couple of years, we have had several education students from Bishop’s University volunteer with our organization. Samantha, a student in the elementary of education program and a Bishop’s rugby player started volunteering with Phelps in the fall. She wanted to share some of her Phelps experiences:
Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer because I want to make a positive impact on others and give back to the community. I also think it is a great way to gain experience working with students.
What do you think students gain by attending Phelps’ sessions?
I think students gain a sense of inclusion and belonging. Phelps raises students’ confidence and also makes them feel important and cared about.
Can you describe one of your favourite moments with the students?
One of my favourite moments was a day when I was doing math homework with an elementary boy. He told me he did not know how to do the work so he wasn't going to do it. After explaining the steps to him he was more willing to try. Once he completed the homework and I checked that the questions were done correctly he was very happy. I think I helped the student feel capable and confident which is very important to me. I also really enjoy playing sports with the students to help raise their confidence and make sure all students are included and having fun!
The Imagine Stanstead project, along with a network of local community groups, is devoted to supporting adult learning. While already offering and planning a variety of free activities for the community, Imagine Stanstead wants to hear from YOU. Imagine Stanstead and Phelps wants to know what type of learning activities community members would like to benefit from. Adult learning activities can include everyday life skills like budgeting or yoga, or workplace skills, such as machining or accounting.
Over the next month, Imagine Stanstead and Phelps Helps team members will be distributing a short survey to community members, asking what their interests are. The survey will be called the Stanstead Interest Survey. The survey will be made available for pick up in public spaces around town or you can watch for our team at various locations & events throughout the community.
Phelps’ weekly elementary and high school sessions have started back up again this week, and we are once again looking for volunteers to help make our programs thrive. We welcome cegep and university students, as well as community members young and old. Over the last couple of years, we have had several international students from Bishop’s University volunteer with our organization. Yuyin, a student in the Masters of Education program has been volunteering with Phelps’ elementary programs for a year now and wanted to share some of her Phelps experiences:
Why do you volunteer?
I wanted to get more involved in the community during my stay here and give back in a meaningful way. I also really like working with children: they are very energetic and creative. It would be very nice if I could have a positive influence on their lives.
What do you think volunteers gain by attending Phelps’ sessions?
For me, I understand the education system in English schools in Quebec a bit more now. Furthermore, I learned to be patient when I was with the children; they need time to grow. At the same time, it is important to not treat them like babies, they have their own ideas about how the world works. They can be responsible and grown-up if you treat them accordingly.
Can you describe one of your favourite moments with the students?
There were many enjoyable moments, such as running around in the woods, playing games in the gym and working on team challenges with the kids. However, one moment stands out: we went outside to play before doing the activities inside and the students started opening up to me. They surprised me by totally trusting me and starting to share their life stories with me; they talked about their pets, family members, favorite games, etc. Sometimes, all you need to do is to just listen quietly.
The holiday season is upon us and mother nature seems to have obliged by giving us the winter wonderland so often associated with this time of year. Somehow, when the world is doused in white, things getting quieter, giving us the opportunity to think. However, people tend to become abnormally busy during this time of year, running last minute errands for parties and buying gifts. December has been quite the busy month at Phelps as well, and we are looking forward to what the new year has in store. We have had an amazing start to this school year, with an incredible amount of support from the community and participation in our programs like we have never seen before. I know that over the holidays, I will be reflecting on all those moments we have shared with Phelps participants; the successes, the laughs and the ridiculous moments that arise from working with youth. There is a strong sense of pride for those who are choosing to participate in our programs and for those in the community who know how important it is to support our youth. You are all making a difference. A big thank you from the Phelps team, and best wishes!
As part of an intergenerational project organized by the Townshippers Association, the Manoir Stanstead opened its doors to Phelps students on Tuesday, welcoming the grade 5 and 6 students from our Elementary Homework Program. We walked down the road from Sunnyside Elementary on our adventure, the students chatting about what types of questions they wanted to ask the residents of the Manoir and throwing the occasional snow ball. “What advice do you have for young people?”, “Where did you grow up?” and “What are your favourite activities at the Manoir?” were particularly intriguing to the students. Once there, we were greeted by the staff and residents, and quiet curiosity descended upon the group. Teams of students sat with different residents and were intent on asking their questions and listening to the insightful answers. After asking all their questions, one group was able to help a resident finish a beautiful puzzle he was working on, while other groups had a chance to share some juice and cookies provided by the kind staff. The residents also took the opportunity to ask questions of their own; “What do you want to do when your older?” was a question that made the students stop and think about their futures. Intergenerational activities like our field trip to the Manoir Stanstead are an opportunity for different groups within the community to learn from one another and build a relationship, and I believe we did just that. A big thank you to the Manoir Stanstead for hosting our group of students.
Thanks to the support of the community, Stanstead’s 3rd annual Winter Clothing Sale was a success! This student-led fundraiser, hosted by Phelps and in collaboration with Stanstead’s youth centre, Le Lounge, received many gently used winter clothing donations and some delicious baked goods. Enthusiastic student volunteers were key to the event’s success. Not only did they enjoy baking sweet treats to be sold, but also had a blast working together to give back to the programs that they enjoy weekly. The fundraiser reached its goal; Phelps will able to buy several ipad chargers for students who do their homework on ipads and Le Lounge will be investing in a flag-football kit for its active participants. Cookies, coats and gloves were sold, but above all many laughs were exchanged as the students spent the whole day with us at Phelps.
On Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Phelps will be hosting its annual Winter Clothing Sale in collaboration with Stanstead’s youth centre, Le Lounge. Every year, youth who participate in the Lounge and Phelps come together for this student-led fundraiser. This year, we have extended the range of items for sale to include not only coats, but all types of winter clothing: hats, scarves, mitts, snow pants and boots. The students will also be selling bracelets and Christmas cards that they’ve made, as well as delicious cookies and hot chocolate. We have received a number of quality brand-name coats that we will be selling at a low cost, as well as some older quirkier coats that may be excellent additions to a school’s drama department costume collection. With the money raised, the Lounge would like to purchase a flag-football kit and Phelps would like to invest in several ipad chargers for students who do their homework on their ipads. Come stop by 272 rue Dufferin in Stanstead this Saturday and you may find the perfect little gift for a niece or nephew, or find the coat or scarf you’ve been looking for. Thank you in advance for supporting this local fundraiser!