After working for five years in the public school system and not having the best experience, I was unsure of what to expect when taking the job as the Learning Assistance Coordinator at IPS.  I knew Bowen Island was different from the city, but I had no idea how much. In my 10 years working with youth in many different capacities I thought I have seen, and heard, it all. Until I heard these words—“Thank you, Matt.”

After working with IPS students for an hour, helping them with their homework and keeping them on track and organized (what IPS pays me to do) the student stood up and was on their way and said “Thank for your help Matt.” I was shocked at first, since I had never really had a youth thank me before for my work.

Then the next block with a different student,  the same thing was said at the ened of our session—“Thank you.” Every student after that thanked me when we had completed our scheduled session.  I am not sure what it is, the amazing teachers at the school, the supportive parents that do as much as they can to make sure events are run so well, the island air, or a combination of it all. Whatever it is it amazes me and makes enjoy my job that much more. It is funny how two simple works can make your day and make it that much easier to really build relationships with these amazing youth.

I think with youth growing up too fast and too soon they sometimes forget about simple things like saying ‘please, thank you, and you’re welcome’ and as educators and adults we to sometimes forget to recognize these simple things as well. IPS has done an outstanding job of making sure that young people do not forget saying thank you, and that with these simple words you can have a huge impact on someone’s day. As these youth move on with their academic career and beyond they will remember that “thank you” will go a long way.

These past four months have really been a fantastic experience for me, working at IPS has made me feel re-energized and wanting to really continue my work with youth. All from two simple words … “thank you.”

Matt Neufeld, Learning Assistance