Imagine walking into your high school every morning to the smell of toasting bagels and the sound of blenders making fresh smoothies for breakfast. This is the reality at TA Blakelock (TAB) high school in Oakville.
In partnership with Halton Food for Thought, TAB runs the Breakfast Club 5 days a week and it’s open to ALL students. The program has such an infectious energy when you walk in, music playing, students socializing and eating healthy food with absolutely no stigma attached to the program. It is truly the place to be before class if you attend TAB!
Having a school situated in South East Oakville, one might say “Now why would they need a Breakfast Program?” As we know, every community has its’ diversities. Ours is no exception. You may look at the affluences that grace this community. But, do not let that fool you. As a student at this school for 4 years I have seen firsthand the need that exists. Students are coming to school without eating a healthy breakfast for many different reasons. That is why I decided to get involved and volunteer for the breakfast club.
I am a grade 12 student at TAB and I started volunteering with the Breakfast Club three years ago when I was in grade 10. This year I was asked to be the Student Program Coordinator. At first I was nervous to take on all the responsibilities, however I accepted the offer because I knew it would be a great experience and I would have the support from staff and students. At TAB we work as a team, everyone helps each other and if there is any problem we find solutions together.
Breakfast club has several great staff members to help run the program in addition to the over 50 students that volunteer on a rotating basis. Having students run the program has been the key to making everyone feel welcome. When you come to Breakfast Club and see one of your peers serving breakfast it makes you feel right at home.
I remember when I was in grade 9, I completely felt like an outsider in the school. This year we encouraged grade 9 students to get more involved than other grades, to make them feel part of the school community.
One way we engage and recruit students to volunteer each year is at our Club Fair. At the beginning of each school year we hold a day where all different student members represent their own club. This year, whenever I saw someone a bit interested in the Breakfast Club, I explained how amazing the club is and convinced them to join the club for not only the community service hours, but also to have some fun.
We also make announcements to remind students that Breakfast Club is for everyone and we promote special days like smoothie and pancake day. Those days are always the busiest and we serve 250-300 students.
This is my last year at TAB as I am graduating this year. I really hope support from all levels continues. Our only goal is to make Breakfast Club a place where people make new friends, have fun, eat a healthy breakfast with friendly people so they can forget about the stress and pressure of studies for a few minutes…not to mention the added brain power a nutritious meal provides for the day ahead!
Many think High school students should be independent and not need as much support. In my experience it is the exact opposite. Today’s youth need more support. We must ensure each student has an equal opportunity to access healthy food at the start of each day.
TA Blakelock Breakfast Club Program Coordinator / Grade 12 student – Tarahum