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Telling the Story: Student Connection in Difficult Times

Bridging the Distance

Dayna is a senior violinist at Sistema Toronto Scarborough who has always been motivated and hard-working. For Dayna, Sistema has also been a place of friendship and connection, and it’s been our pleasure to see her making music with her close friends Tefia and Alyssa over the years. This spring Dayna and her family went on a long awaited trip to visit family in India and due to COVID-19 have not been able to return home. Our Sistema Online Sessions (SOS) have brought Dayna, Tefia and Alyssa together three days a week to continue their learning and keep their friendship strong. Across the classroom or across the globe, we are proud of Dayna, Tefia and Alyssa for always working as a team!


Child Mental Health: A Growing Concern

Yorkwoods student Hannah has always been a model student, always cheerful, working hard to achieve her goals and helpful to her teachers and friends whenever needed.  So her teacher was more than concerned when Hannah disclosed that she was struggling with her mental health and having thoughts about self-harm during one of her SOS lessons.  Our team immediately connected with Hannah’s parents, school resources and social services to get Hannah the help she needed.  Providing access to caring trusted adults students can reach out to is a crucial part of our SOS initiative, where students like Hannah are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety and loneliness. 


Home Alone: A COVID-19 Story

Like many of our students, 12-year-old DeeDee’s parents are front-line workers who are at work all day while DeeDee stays home by herself.  In the early days of our SOS initiative we were surprised to see so many students like DeeDee arriving early to online class, reluctant to leave at the end, and repeatedly asking for longer sessions and more sessions.  We quickly realized that Sistema classes are often the only regular interaction students have with the outside world.  These students are excited to see their friends every day and more eager than ever to be challenged in their learning. Connection with community is a high priority for our team, and providing regular classes with engaging learning and social activities is the best way we can provide that connection.