Community partners with United Way for Attendance Matters awareness campaign

Businesses and organizations in Regina are teaming up to help get children to school and promote good attendance.

This is the second year of United Way’s Attendance Matters program. The sophomore season for the campaign launched on Thursday with a presentation of a new video that highlights the importance of school attendance.

And this year, United Way will be receiving support from community partners to spread the message of good attendance and reward students who make it a priority.

Amanda Lanoway, associate director of engagement for United Way Regina, talked about how the community needs to invest in demonstrating the rewards of positive attendance. During their Thursday launch, she said it’s important for people to support successful learning.

“Chronic absenteeism is only missing 10 per cent of school, which is only 18 days in a school year, and if you’re missing two days a month that’s already a warning sign,” explained Lanoway. “As a community, we have a role to play in watching for those signs and addressing them early on.”

Thanks to community partnerships from a few organizations and companies, schools within the Regina Public School Division and Regina Catholic School Division will receive a boost when rewarding students for their attendance.

As part of incentives for youth, the City of Regina is donating 5,000 leisure passes and the Regina Pats are giving 1,000 regular season tickets to their home games from their flex pack option. The passes will be distributed to schools in the city.

The program has secured another gift to aid families who struggle to get their children to class. Dilawri Group of Companies is supplying a 2019 Dodge Caravan as a shuttle vehicle that can be used to drive students to and from school.

Superintendent of education services with the Regina Catholic School Division Stacey Gherasim, who was present for the announcement, said this shuttle program is going to make a big difference for their schools.

“I was getting a little bit emotional because I was remembering back to students I had in my class, thinking about how I knew they wanted to be at school, but they just couldn’t get there,” she stated. “It wasn’t any fault of their own, it was just where they were and their circumstances.”

W.H. Ford principal Tracy Houk admitted this could be a huge relief for families in the city. “Sometimes it’s really difficult to get them there if they don’t have their own transportation, if they don’t have working transportation or if they’re not able to physically get their child there.”

A professional driver will be hired to drive the van which will be shared between both school divisions.

The new video for the campaign will be shared on social media and throughout schools this year. People can also view the video on YouTube.

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