Breathless from basketball tag with the boys and girls she is coaching, Rebekah Mattis grabs a moment’s break before returning to talk to these junior jocks about the word of the day: Perseverance.

There’s a special word every day designed to promote values as well as sports savvy at this special “Focus on Youth” day camp, one of several run by local school boards and social agencies for inner-city children across Toronto.

Five days a week Mattis spends her time shooting hoops and boosting the confidence of children here at Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School.

She earns $12 an hour for dribbling and dodging and discussing life skills — but Mattis also is earning two high school credits.

It may not look like summer school, but there are 400 students across the Toronto Catholic District School Board earning cash and credits for community work this summer through the board’s innovative “paid co-op” program.

It’s another example of a program that has boosted summer school enrolment at the board to record levels.

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