BGC Education Programs Drive Unique Learning


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Let us tell you the story of 10-year-old Carl. He loves basketball and cats. He has great energy, with an overflowing imagination. However, not all of his many strengths could shine through, as he had a specific way of learning.

“From an early age, we knew he needed more support,” recalls his mother, Anna. “Then came the diagnosis of autism and learning disabilities. It takes so much more to meet his different needs.

Carl’s story began to change when he began receiving support from The Reading Clinic, a special education program of BGC South East, formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area. “He was two classes behind and everything was a distraction,” says Anna.

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With a learning program tested for over 20 years, The Reading Clinic offers individual instruction based on the Orton-Gillingham structured literacy approach. More than 5,000 sessions are offered to local children each year, developing fundamental reading and writing skills.

“The reading clinic was exactly what my son needed,” says Anna. “The instructors are so knowledgeable. They tailored the program to my son’s needs, stepping back and changing gears when they see a lesson needs repeating.

“They are truly champions of children.”

It has now been two and a half years since Carl started the reading clinic sessions. “Two years later, Carl continues to be happy to go to every session. It’s something he looks forward to,” says Anna. “Now that he knows the sound of the letters, he writes better and became great at spelling.

“He is more confident and feels proud of his progress. As a mom, seeing Carl happy and growing is all I could ask for.

This year, the annual BGC-Whig campaign focuses on providing additional educational supports to children in need, through specialized education programs. The club wants to provide more families with free access to the programs and implement education programs to benefit more than 3,000 children and young people in the region.

“The worst of the pandemic seems to be gone, but all of its effects are still part of our community,” said Rosie Gatenby, education manager at BGC South East for more than five years. “We see hundreds of families unable to afford quality programs and so many gaps in child development.”

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BGC’s programs cover a variety of developmental areas, integrating education lessons into programs in active sports, arts and sciences, and music. “We know that improving education will benefit all children in our community. It’s the first step for all other learning,” Gatenby continues.

“Children learn in different ways, which is why we include specific educational components in our different programs. The goal is to provide accessible learning opportunities that are engaging and help children make connections to remember what they have learned. By including learning goals and educational elements in camps, after-school programs and weekends, we can provide these opportunities to more children in our community each week,” she adds.

There are hundreds of Carls in our community – children who need extra support to develop various skills and discover their strengths. Donations are essential to enable the work of the BGC to continue, so that children can get the specific support they need.

“It will open doors that would have remained closed,” Anna thought to herself. “I am truly at a loss for words to say how much this program has changed our lives.”

(To protect confidentiality, names have been changed.)

How to make a donation

  • Donations can be made online by completing the donation form on the right hand side at
  • Credit card donations can be made by calling 613-507-3306, ext. 100 or 110.
  • Checks can be made payable to BGC South East and mailed to: 1300 Bath Road, Unit A-2, Kingston, ON, K7M 4X4.
  • Donors are asked to indicate whether they wish to remain anonymous or have their name published in recognition of their support. The names will be published in the weekly articles during The Kingston Whig-Standard campaign.
  • A tax receipt will be issued for donations of $20 or more within two weeks.

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