St. John’s Back to Basics after school program has been up and running in Sault Ste. Marie for close to seven years. This program offers a place for students from Etienne Brule public school to gather at the end of the school day for a nutritious snack, creative crafting, fun play and often times meet special guests from the likes of pet therapy animals to police officers from the surrounding community!
While running a free program such as this always brings with it challenges; securing funding, resources and volunteers to name but a few, the 2013-14 academic year brought with it some unexpected challenges. During the fall of 2013 St. John’s Memorial Hall flooded and left the program temporarily displaced. Thankfully, Etienne Brule opened its doors and the program was able to continue housed at the school until spring of 2014.
At the end of May 2014, it was announced by the Algoma District School Board that Etienne Brule public school is closing its doors at the end of June and will no longer be operating as a school. As a program that has primarily served the Etienne Brule community, St. John’s Back to Basics had some discerning to do as to the future of the program.
After much prayer, the program facilitators have discerned that God is calling them to continue this important ministry in the downtown core of the city. Facilitators are in the process of determining how to restructure in order to accommodate the needs of the immediate area, recognizing that students will now be bussed and may come from multiple schools. Ongoing prayer through this time is much appreciated!
This also means that the program may experience an increase in enrollment, which means there is a need for more volunteers. Volunteers to work with the students, volunteers to cook, and volunteers to clean up… there are so many different ways to get involved! Financial support for supplies, food, etc. is also a great blessing.
If you live in or around the Sault and this is a ministry that you feel called to, contact St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church at 705-575-3060 or via email.