After Tasha was suspended from school, the anxious young teen wasn’t sure she would finish Grade 9. Being placed in the Y’s Alternative Suspension program during that time not only helped her return to class and finish the school year, it also made a lasting and positive impression on her life.

“One of the most important lessons I learned at the YMCA is to accept and love yourself for who you are,” she says. “I have found it difficult to see the positive aspects of my life at times, but with the advice and support I received, along with the workshops on ‘exploring my strengths’ and learning ‘what’s great about me,’ I now realize there is potential in every day.”

During and after the program, Tasha received helpful, thoughtful advice for returning to school and making the most of her time there. “To this day, I find myself reflecting on the time I spent at the YMCA, remembering the advice and support I was given and applying it to ongoing issues.”

It also provided a safe environment for her to express her feelings and concerns. “Since leaving the program, I have become more positive about myself. I have developed skills in talking to others, building relationships, and knowing when to stand up for myself and others.”

“I see this program as a way to give students struggling with issues at home or at school, a chance to receive good life advice, support and guidance, while continuing with their school work.”  The importance of positivity in kids’ lives is huge, Tasha says, and the Alternative Suspension Program reinforces that, providing students with new life lessons that help them stay in school. “The Alternative Suspension Program has helped me, and many other kids like me, to realize our true potential.”