Pathways to Education helping 900 students graduate high school

News Jun 20, 2017 by Bob Vrbanac Waterloo Chronicle

It’s one of those milestones that nobody wants to miss — high school graduation.

And the excitement is building for local high school students getting ready to embark on the next phase of their lives.

But depending on their circumstances, not all students have the same opportunity to receive their diploma and have a sense of accomplishment like their classmates.

Whether it’s language barriers, financial need or lack of opportunity, students from economically-challenged neighbourhoods struggle to cross that stage. Graduation rates can be as low as 50 per cent.

A program called Pathways to Education has been levelling those odds for the past 15 years and will help 900 students from low-income neighbourhoods across Canada graduate from high school this year.

One of those grads is local student Emily Kwan, who graduated from the Pathways to Education program last year and is now studying accounting at the University of Waterloo.

When Kwan’s family immigrated to the area from China, they hoped the transition would be smooth, but difficulty with the language and some culture shock had her looking for help to realize her dream of pursuing post-secondary education.

When volunteers from the program visited her school in Grade 8, she realized they could provide her with academic and financial support to catch up with her peers.

“They visited my school in Grade 8 and talked about how there was tutoring and mentoring in the program,” said Kwan, 19. “They talked about how they help financially the people in the program, and talking to their representatives I just knew I wanted to go into the program.”

Locally, the nationally registered charity, which first helped students in Regent Park in Toronto before moving across Canada, targets the Chandler Mowat neighbourhoods and the Kingsville areas. Students who have joined the program have seen their graduation rate climb to more than 85 per cent, and 70 per cent of those go on to pursue some form of post-secondary education.

That was the plan for Kwan, and throughout the four years of high school she had tutors to help with homeword and any other troubles she was having in school.

“It really helped me focus on my work and even gave me a quiet space to do it, which was really important for me,” said Kwan, who just completed her first year of university and is starting a co-op term.

“Nearing graduation time, they helped me apply to universities and OSAP and helped me realize I was applying to the right programs for what I wanted to do.

“Pathways helped me not only with school, but job-wise and career-wise with resume building.”

She said she still receives support from the program, which is funded by both the federal and provincial governments as well as corporate and private donations.

“I knew I was interested in business and math, and accounting allowed me to think about diving into different businesses after receiving a solid foundation,” said Kwan.

She recommends the program for anyone in a similar situation, looking to change their circumstances.

“It helps not only with your education, but getting involved in the community and building those skills that are necessary for the future,” said Kwan. “Use the resources they provide you because it will help you in the long run.”

Sue Gillespie, president and CEO of Pathways, said they’ve had a lot of success stories from the 18 communities they’re in across the country and they celebrate with each student graduation.

“June is definitely an exciting time of year because we really like to celebrate the success of our students across Canada,” she said.

Pathways is administered locally by Carizon Family and Community Services, which Gillespie used to head, and provides everything from bus tickets to get to school to help with other barriers that get in the students’ way.

They’ve had more than 5,000 grads since they started. Students are even eligible for scholarships through the program.

“Our program results in doubling graduation rates across the county,” said Gillespie.

For more, visit pathwaystoeducation.ca.

Pathways to Education helping 900 students graduate high school

News Jun 20, 2017 by Bob Vrbanac Waterloo Chronicle

It’s one of those milestones that nobody wants to miss — high school graduation.

And the excitement is building for local high school students getting ready to embark on the next phase of their lives.

But depending on their circumstances, not all students have the same opportunity to receive their diploma and have a sense of accomplishment like their classmates.

Whether it’s language barriers, financial need or lack of opportunity, students from economically-challenged neighbourhoods struggle to cross that stage. Graduation rates can be as low as 50 per cent.

A program called Pathways to Education has been levelling those odds for the past 15 years and will help 900 students from low-income neighbourhoods across Canada graduate from high school this year.

One of those grads is local student Emily Kwan, who graduated from the Pathways to Education program last year and is now studying accounting at the University of Waterloo.

When Kwan’s family immigrated to the area from China, they hoped the transition would be smooth, but difficulty with the language and some culture shock had her looking for help to realize her dream of pursuing post-secondary education.

When volunteers from the program visited her school in Grade 8, she realized they could provide her with academic and financial support to catch up with her peers.

“They visited my school in Grade 8 and talked about how there was tutoring and mentoring in the program,” said Kwan, 19. “They talked about how they help financially the people in the program, and talking to their representatives I just knew I wanted to go into the program.”

Locally, the nationally registered charity, which first helped students in Regent Park in Toronto before moving across Canada, targets the Chandler Mowat neighbourhoods and the Kingsville areas. Students who have joined the program have seen their graduation rate climb to more than 85 per cent, and 70 per cent of those go on to pursue some form of post-secondary education.

That was the plan for Kwan, and throughout the four years of high school she had tutors to help with homeword and any other troubles she was having in school.

“It really helped me focus on my work and even gave me a quiet space to do it, which was really important for me,” said Kwan, who just completed her first year of university and is starting a co-op term.

“Nearing graduation time, they helped me apply to universities and OSAP and helped me realize I was applying to the right programs for what I wanted to do.

“Pathways helped me not only with school, but job-wise and career-wise with resume building.”

She said she still receives support from the program, which is funded by both the federal and provincial governments as well as corporate and private donations.

“I knew I was interested in business and math, and accounting allowed me to think about diving into different businesses after receiving a solid foundation,” said Kwan.

She recommends the program for anyone in a similar situation, looking to change their circumstances.

“It helps not only with your education, but getting involved in the community and building those skills that are necessary for the future,” said Kwan. “Use the resources they provide you because it will help you in the long run.”

Sue Gillespie, president and CEO of Pathways, said they’ve had a lot of success stories from the 18 communities they’re in across the country and they celebrate with each student graduation.

“June is definitely an exciting time of year because we really like to celebrate the success of our students across Canada,” she said.

Pathways is administered locally by Carizon Family and Community Services, which Gillespie used to head, and provides everything from bus tickets to get to school to help with other barriers that get in the students’ way.

They’ve had more than 5,000 grads since they started. Students are even eligible for scholarships through the program.

“Our program results in doubling graduation rates across the county,” said Gillespie.

For more, visit pathwaystoeducation.ca.

Pathways to Education helping 900 students graduate high school

News Jun 20, 2017 by Bob Vrbanac Waterloo Chronicle

It’s one of those milestones that nobody wants to miss — high school graduation.

And the excitement is building for local high school students getting ready to embark on the next phase of their lives.

But depending on their circumstances, not all students have the same opportunity to receive their diploma and have a sense of accomplishment like their classmates.

Whether it’s language barriers, financial need or lack of opportunity, students from economically-challenged neighbourhoods struggle to cross that stage. Graduation rates can be as low as 50 per cent.

A program called Pathways to Education has been levelling those odds for the past 15 years and will help 900 students from low-income neighbourhoods across Canada graduate from high school this year.

One of those grads is local student Emily Kwan, who graduated from the Pathways to Education program last year and is now studying accounting at the University of Waterloo.

When Kwan’s family immigrated to the area from China, they hoped the transition would be smooth, but difficulty with the language and some culture shock had her looking for help to realize her dream of pursuing post-secondary education.

When volunteers from the program visited her school in Grade 8, she realized they could provide her with academic and financial support to catch up with her peers.

“They visited my school in Grade 8 and talked about how there was tutoring and mentoring in the program,” said Kwan, 19. “They talked about how they help financially the people in the program, and talking to their representatives I just knew I wanted to go into the program.”

Locally, the nationally registered charity, which first helped students in Regent Park in Toronto before moving across Canada, targets the Chandler Mowat neighbourhoods and the Kingsville areas. Students who have joined the program have seen their graduation rate climb to more than 85 per cent, and 70 per cent of those go on to pursue some form of post-secondary education.

That was the plan for Kwan, and throughout the four years of high school she had tutors to help with homeword and any other troubles she was having in school.

“It really helped me focus on my work and even gave me a quiet space to do it, which was really important for me,” said Kwan, who just completed her first year of university and is starting a co-op term.

“Nearing graduation time, they helped me apply to universities and OSAP and helped me realize I was applying to the right programs for what I wanted to do.

“Pathways helped me not only with school, but job-wise and career-wise with resume building.”

She said she still receives support from the program, which is funded by both the federal and provincial governments as well as corporate and private donations.

“I knew I was interested in business and math, and accounting allowed me to think about diving into different businesses after receiving a solid foundation,” said Kwan.

She recommends the program for anyone in a similar situation, looking to change their circumstances.

“It helps not only with your education, but getting involved in the community and building those skills that are necessary for the future,” said Kwan. “Use the resources they provide you because it will help you in the long run.”

Sue Gillespie, president and CEO of Pathways, said they’ve had a lot of success stories from the 18 communities they’re in across the country and they celebrate with each student graduation.

“June is definitely an exciting time of year because we really like to celebrate the success of our students across Canada,” she said.

Pathways is administered locally by Carizon Family and Community Services, which Gillespie used to head, and provides everything from bus tickets to get to school to help with other barriers that get in the students’ way.

They’ve had more than 5,000 grads since they started. Students are even eligible for scholarships through the program.

“Our program results in doubling graduation rates across the county,” said Gillespie.

For more, visit pathwaystoeducation.ca.