No parent should have to navigate the education system on their own…Get Help Now
What is the Student and Family (S.F.A) Program?
The Student and Family Advocate Program (SFA) is a Black community based program designed to support Black families and students and they engage with the education system.
Student and Family Advocates are systems navigators. This means that no matter your socio econmic status, no matter where you live, if your child or family is experiencing anti-Black racism in the education system (or other systems) a Student and Family advocate can help you.
There are 17 Black led organizations with SFAs across Ontario, all here to support and advocate on behalf of Black families.
Rebuilding the Village: The SFA program is ‘Systems Navigation’ by another name. We are your village.
Black families have supported each other in attending school meetings, writing letters and even speaking on behalf of neighbours and friends for decades. Systems Navigation formalizes that process. We’ve always been advocates for each other. Now we are standing together…for you.
As SFAs we acknowledge, understand, and address Anti-Black Racism and its impacts on Black families and students through:
When should you contact a Student and Family Advocate? ?
Anti-Black racism can take many different forms in the education system. It can be subtle, like a teacher consistently sending notes home about your child, or it can be direct like your child being racially bullied or beat up because of their race. Here are some questions to consider when deciding if you should reach out to a Student and Family Advocate:
Does your school disproportionately suspend and expel black students?
Does your school disproportionately refer Black students to the police?
Is your child punished more harshly or more frequently than white students?
Are notes coming home from your child's school focused on their perceived negative attributes with no mention of their positive qualities?
Is there a lack of a sense of belonging for Black students within your school region?
Is your child being called names because of their race, excluded from school yard games or generally doesn't feel like they belong?
These examples all include but are not limited to acts of Anti-Black Racism that impact our Black students within the education system.
Advocacy/"Cultural Broker" supports and services, capacity building workshops and mentoring, and Cultural Broker Community Program targeting Black students (ages 6-25) and families from marginalized low-income communities in southern Ottawa.
Advocacy supports, culturally relevant mentorship, navigational supports and referrals, and sessions on anti-Black racism benefitting Black students (ages 6-25) and families in Toronto's Rexdale, Firgrove/Jane-Finch, and Kingsview Village neighbourhoods and the Municipality of Brampton (Peel Region).
Advocacy supports/services, capacity building and system navigation, and initiatives in collaboration with schools/boards and other community groups benefitting newcomer Black West African children ages 6-12 and their families in Toronto's York South-West and Humber River-Black Creek communities.
Advocacy supports/services, navigational supports and resources, leadership and consultation on anti-Black racism and culturally relevant workshops benefitting newcomer students ages 10-20 in Hamilton.
Advocacy supports and 1:1 case management, social programming, and community education sessions benefitting Black youth ages 13-25 and their families, including newcomers and those experiencing poverty, in Toronto's York South-Weston, and Oakwood-Vaughan communities.
Anti-Black racism training/education, advocacy and pathway planning supports, mentorship and career/leadership skills development, and youth/family roundtable talks benefitting Black youth (ages 13-18) and families in Mississauga.
Advocacy supports, capacity-building and system navigation supports, culturally relevant learning and career/pathway exploration opportunities, and food/childcare supports for Black students (ages 6-12) and families, including Caribbean, East/West African Canadian born and single parent/caregiver families and families with no/limited post-secondary education, in Toronto's North-East Scarborough and Malvern communities.
Advocacy supports/services, capacity building, and navigational/research resources targeting Black children (ages 4-12) and adolescents (ages 13-19) in and leaving care, and/or their families/caregivers in York Region.
Advocacy supports, 1:1 culturally relevant mentoring, drop-in mental health and wellness supports, and community information sessions targeting Black students ages 6-18 and their families, including those living in low-income households, in Toronto Northwest and Etobicoke.
Advocacy support, enrichment and tutoring, and parent engagement initiatives targeted to Black students ages 6-12 from low income families, lone parent/single households, and new immigrant families living in Mississauga and Brampton. Complemented by app to track performance measures and individual goals.
Advocacy supports/services and case management, culturally relevant programming, referrals, and workshops targeting Black children and youth and their families, including those with child welfare involvement, in Peel (ages 6-18) and Halton (ages 6-23).
Advocacy supports, pathway planning and culturally relevant mentorship programming, and anti-Black racism resources for teachers and administrators benefitting Black children ages 6-12 and their parents in the Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby communities of Durham Region.
Advocacy supports for parents, skill-building and positive Black identity programming (e.g. R.E.A.L. School program) and community information sessions benefitting youth ages 11-17 in Toronto's East Scarborough community.
Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre
One-on-one culturally/gender responsive navigational/advocacy supports, student-, family- and community-centred workshops, and community-level training opportunities to address barriers to educational attainment for African, Caribbean and Black-identified women in downtown Toronto, North York, and Scarborough. Community information sessions will also be open to organizations and families residing in the regions of Peel and Durham.