The Breakfast Club of Canada

by ntass on April 28, 2014 - 1:04pm

The Breakfast Club is possibly one of the most well-known movies of the 80s. Although a classic, The Breakfast Club we all know and love has not changed lives like the one Canada has come to appreciate. The Breakfast Club of Canada is a non-profit organization committed to providing a free nutritious breakfast to all of the young growing minds across Canada. The organization was founded in 1994 by Daniel Germain. Germain’s main objective was to “change the world for children.” He believed he could attain this goal by breaking the cycle of poverty that plagues so many children. His goal was to offer children a positive environment where they could grow, express themselves freely, and improve their self-esteem.

            With the goals in mind, Germain created The Breakfast Club of Canada. Originally supported by the United Nations World Food Program, the Club has gained a great deal of support across the country from private and public partners. The emerging support boosted the Club from being active in 290 schools across the Quebec province to helping approximately 130,000 Canadian children in 1,266 schools start their school day with a nutritious breakfast. In addition to breakfast, the environment and projects are created to enable children to not only have a full stomach but also to empower them to build their self-esteem through an encouraging environment that allows them to express their talents. The Club also seeks to have a strong parental involvement in the Club.

            The Clubs’ main assumptions are that everyday a healthy environment and nutritious meal will be provided for children prior to the start of the school day. The environment will grow their self-esteem and development their minds to know that their strengths and talents can help them achieve whatever goals they may have in mind.

The outcome is that children will not only be more successful in school but also in life.  Furthermore, they are putting a halt to the issue of poverty. Thus, the short-term goal is to provide a meal full of nutrients and positive encouragement to have a successful school day. The intermediate outcomes are that they will continue to be successful in school and then succeed in their post-graduation goals. Finally, the long-term goal is that the child will have become successful, independent and self-sustaining, thereby creating a better environment for themselves and stopping the cycle of poverty.

The inputs have been developing of the past twenty years and are growing daily. People all over are committing themselves and revenue to help this organization be a success. Even companies like Minute Maid and Coca-Cola have teamed up to not only provide money but also exposure by releasing commercials advertising the Club. There are dozens of companies that have partnered with the Club to make a difference, including Walmart and Kellogg’s. These companies have raised millions and contributed food to the organization. There is also a great deal of average people that have helped by volunteering. There is even a nutrition committee to ensure that the children are getting exactly what they need. In February Walmart surpassed the three million dollar goal and raised over 3.4 million dollars to help the Club.

The outputs are overwhelmingly positive and continuing to grow. They feed more than 130,000 children in 1,266 primary and secondary schools each day. Every year almost 21 million breakfasts are served to kids, yearning for nourishment and positive reinforcement.

Overall the concept of the organization is a well thought out idea about how to change the problem poverty for children. The activities do not seem to sufficient enough to meet the theory of change that the Breakfast Club aims for. According to the Food Research and Action Center, a child that eats breakfast in the morning is more likely to be successful throughout the day. Breakfast has shown to improve children’s cognitive skills, test-taking, and overall health and well-being, therefore, fulfilling the short-term goal (School, 2014). However, do the breakfasts satisfy the long-term goal of ending the cycle of poverty? Marx would say that this is not the case. Simply providing the children with breakfast would only solidify the economic position that they are in. A new social order where there is not poverty means that there must be a class consciousness. Therefore, not only should breakfasts be provided for but campaigns should be held to raise awareness about the issue of poverty and how it affects children. Once there is increased awareness there is consciousness. The group of people suffering from poverty, including children and their parents, can move from a class-in-itself that only has the same material interests and makes a living the same way to a class-for-itself, where they are aware of their common material interests (Marx & Engels, 1848). Moreover, Dorothy Smith would agree with Marx on the basis that the impoverished must move to a class-for-itself, but in order to do so they must be conscious of their common interests. Additionally, they must be aware of their oppression. Those in poverty need to become cognizant of the issues that continuously keep people in the cycle of poverty. For example, they are oppressed by food scarcity and the inability to have access to simple necessities for survival (Kivisto, 2011). Once educated on how to persevere past the adversities that keep them in the situation they are in, those in poverty can make substantial progress toward moving out of poverty. Awareness campaign coupled with the breakfasts would complete the theory of change necessary to accomplish real movement toward ending the cycle of poverty.

The Club makes it possible for anyone to contribute either through donating money or donating their time by making their own campaign and event. Therefore, these activities can do more than simply raise money but more importantly the campaigns can raise awareness about the issue of poverty and the toll it can take on child. Moreover, the ways they can help put an end to it.

The success of providing breakfast to children that it need it is overwhelming. Thousands of children are getting a nutritious meal and positive encouragement to kick off their day. However, educating children, their families and their community about the importance of education and an education can lead to a more successful life is vital to ending the cycle. Simply a meal may not change the amount of children in poverty but helping them and those around them understand that the nutrition they receive is important to be successful in school. Moreover, success in school can lead to a better job and better life, possibly breaking the endless circle that is poverty. If a consciousness raising program is added to that encompassing the children’s families and other in the community, the organization could be tremendously more successful in their theory of how to change the cycle of poverty.

           

http://www.breakfastclubcanada.org/

http://frac.org/federal-foodnutrition-programs/school-breakfast-program/

 

Kivisto, Peter (2011). Social Theory Roots and Branches.

Marx, K., Engels F. (1848, February 21). The Communist Manifesto.

School Breakfast Program (2014). Food Research & Action Center. Food Research Action Center School Breakfast Program Comments.

                   

Comments

I totally agree that breakfast is an aspect that can influence your behavior and concentration at school. This text was interesting and the project you're responding to sounds very fascinating. Even in developed countries, many students do not eat breakfast. Some prefer sleeping a few more minutes than eating a healthy breakfast, some others cannot afford having a meal in the morning. However, breakfast is really important, it is the most important meal of the day according to studies. By reading this text, I learned more about breakfast clubs in general. Before reading this, I always thought breakfast clubs were just some clubs giving free breakfast and nothing more. After reading this, I realized through the points pointed out, that breakfast clubs have a lot more impacts then what people imagine. They are a great solution to help people have a healthy start full of nutrition and encouragement, which can help students concentrate more in school. For more information about how breakfast influences one's behavior at school, I suggest reading the following article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/school-breakfast-programs-bo... .

The organization you talk about seems to be legitimate to me and has great intentions. I like how they also focus on social support rather than just feeding them because I believe it is just as important. I actually did not know how important it was to have breakfast in the morning and that it is key to having a productive day, which now explains a lot about my focus in college lately! There is an organization that covers the long-term goals you spoke about, and that organization is also here in Canada, called Sun Youth. They are fully committed to their community and their mission is to help end poverty through education, spreading awareness and providing food, clothes and shelter to those in need. If you’d like to know more about it, you can visit their website here: http://sunyouthorg.com/en

This post is very interesting and goes into depth of the reasoning behind the Breakfast club of Canada, which I too have written about. From your application of the Marx theory I learnt that Breakfasts long term goal of ending poverty wouldn’t happen, according to Marx. The max theory implies that Breakfast would only be solidifying the economic position the children are in and that awareness needs to be involved. This is a good theory that makes sense and explains this issue. This article goes in depth on how the breakfast club of Canada is a great organization that helps children, and also how many other banks and organization support and fundraise for the Breakfast club. It’s a good read.
Article: http://www.commitment.nationalbank.ca/pillars/our-commitments/youth/nati...

Although "The Breakfast Club" is undoubtedly a classic 80's flick, I’m also glad that organizations like The Breakfast Club of Canada exist, in order for there to be a conversation about children and, most importantly, how our society must do its utmost in trying to make their future aspirations and talents come to life. Indeed, I’m delighted to know that there actually is a non-profit working on both serving meals to youngsters and providing them the care and fostering that their minds need.

Now, in respect to your reference to Marx and Engels, I feel that it was indeed necessary to address the over-lying issue of how contributions, through non-profits or by other groups, help deter the growth of poverty, particularly amongst children. The notion of a “class consciousness” is something quite important to consider, as it brings up the argument that there can be no significant change to our societal ways unless we each become communally cognizant.

On the subject of children and the aid we provide them, I recently stumbled on a report issued in 2008 by the Public Health Agency of Canada. In one section, it is discussed that investing money in combating child poverty can result in greatly beneficial economic outcomes in the future. In fact, it is estimated that “$1 invested in the early years saves between $3 and $9 in future spending on the health and criminal justice systems, as well as on social assistance.”

Link to article: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cphorsphc-respcacsp/2008/fr-rc/cphorsphc-resp...

I almost wrote a volunteering article on this organization. It is a great organization we have here in Canada, devoted to help children eat a healthy meal for the most important meal of the day, and this every day. I had never thought about viewing the organization and it's goals through a theory of change, which to me is a very interesting new vision of the organization's goals. I agree with your arguments. The awareness would be essential in developing their organization. However, I believe that the organization has chosen to focus their donations on the breakfasts rather than spending them towards awareness for poverty. Their goal is to provide an environment which most encourages learning and development. Which includes interacting with the children and providing them support to increase self-esteem (as you mention), rather than reminding them that they must escape this poverty that they live in. I believe the organization chooses to focus on the positive side on the issue, helping the kids succeed in school, rather than reminding everyone of the poverty in Canada and how it affects youth. All this to say that I do agree with you, in many of my posts here on Newsactivist I mention awareness because I believe it is very important. But in this case, although the significance of awareness in critical, the organization is doing a great job helping over 130,000 kids every morning, which is more than any other organization!