NEWS RELEASE: Outdoor adventure-based high school program for vulnerable youth to open new locations in 2019

VANCOUVER, BC, January 29, 2019

In 2019, the Take a Hike Foundation will expand a unique model for re-engaging vulnerable youth to new program locations in the Lower Mainland. In partnership with the Delta School District, the first of two new Take a Hike programs will open its doors to students in North Delta in February. A second program is being developed for launch later in 2019, in partnership with Surrey Schools. Funding permitting, an additional location on Vancouver Island may open as early as 2019.

Take a Hike is a full-time alternate high school program for vulnerable youth in grades 10-12. New locations in Delta and Surrey will make the program - which has seen an 88% graduation rate over the last 5 years, compared with a 35% provincial graduation rate for alternate programs - accessible to up to 40 additional students who are struggling with chronic non-attendance or mental health or behavioural challenges.

“Because of our students’ success with the program in Vancouver, Burnaby and the West Kootenays, we set a ten-year vision of scaling to every school district in the province with youth in need,” said Gordon Matchett, CEO of the Take a Hike Foundation. “We’re excited that new partnerships and increased funding support are enabling us to provide opportunities for a greater number of youth in 2019.”

“Working with Take a Hike has been an incredibly positive experience,” said Joanna Angelidis, Director, Learning Services – Inclusive Learning at Delta School District. “Their skill and experience with implementing the program in a new district and supporting new partners made the process very efficient. Take a Hike’s collaborative and flexible approach meant it was easy to work with our district’s processes and culture while maintaining the integrity of the Take a Hike model. Even in the early stages of implementation, the positive impact on the enrolled youth is apparent. I have no doubt that the opportunity to participate in the Take a Hike program will be a tremendously positive life-changing experience for the young people enrolled.”

“We value our relationship with Take a Hike and believe that this program provides us with another powerful option to support at-risk youth in our district,” said Jordan Tinney Superintendent / CEO of Surrey Schools. “We have been actively engaged in dialogue, vetting and planning with Take a Hike, and have been working through our district processes and are looking forward to a partnership for September 2019.”

The Delta Take a Hike program was developed in a record nine months, with funding provided by the Delta School District for the first year of operations. Additional funding is required to sustain the program beyond its first year. A $150K grant from the Ministry of Education and funds from Take a Hike donors provided most start-up funds for the Surrey program, but sustainable funding is required.

The Take a Hike Foundation is working with three school districts on Vancouver Island to develop the next phase of program scaling. Planning processes are due to be completed by March 31st. If funding is confirmed by March 31st, an additional location on Vancouver Island may open as early as September 2019.

To discuss new partnerships, contact Sevan Kadian, Program Support Manager, Take a Hike Foundation, at sevan@takeahikefoundation.org or 604-638-3385.

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Media contact:

Virginia Chomley

Director of Communications

virginia@takeahikefoundation.org

604-638-3385

About Take a Hike:

Founded in 2000, Take a Hike is a full-time alternate high school program that uses the outdoors and adventure to engage vulnerable youth in school, community and mental health supports. The program provides full-time clinical counsellors in each classroom to help students overcome barriers so they can achieve social and academic success, leading to high school graduation. Over the last five years, 88% of Take a Hike students have graduated, compared with a provincial graduation rate of 84% for all students and 35% for students in alternate programs. Take a Hike currently operates four programs in Vancouver, Burnaby and the West Kootenays.