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Supporting the Future

5 Aug 2022

Simons and Pathways to Education have joined forces to help close the gap between students in low-income communities and their education. 
 


Creating Pathways to Success

A better future for Canada starts with high school graduation. That’s what Pathways to Education is all about! The organization helps break the cycle of poverty through education, by providing resources and a support network for high school students living in low-income communities.


Pathways to Education, a non-profit organization, gives youth across Canada the tools they need to succeed during their critical high school years. The program helps students develop valuable life skills to set them up for personal and professional success. With 31 program locations across the country, Pathways provides a variety of academic, financial, and social supports to help students overcome barriers to education. Its goal is to ensure that one day, every young person in Canada can graduate from high school.

 

 

Each year, thousands of students across the country are not able to finish high school. They face significant barriers such as a lack of access to resources, mentoring, and support networks. Pathways to Education believes that no student should have to face such barriers.

 

 

The Road to Success

Over 19,000 students across Canada have received support from the Pathways Program since it was founded in 2001.

For the 2020–2021 school year, over 6,200 students enrolled in the Pathways Program with a 76% average graduation rate. Of the graduates, 69% transitioned to post-secondary education or training.

 

Stories of Success

Pathways to Education is looking to the future and making a real difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities! Meet five young Canadians who are graduates of the Pathways Program.

 

Daniela, QC

Even though Daniela grew up with an older sister to look up to, high school felt like a huge step and a big unknown.

But around the same time that Daniela started high school, she heard about Pathways to Education from a friend. After talking about the program with her mother, Daniela immediately joined—and it made a big difference.

Pathways was a place where Daniela could go for support with her schoolwork, amongst other things. Since French wasn't her mother's first language, it was often difficult for her to help Daniela with her homework. The tutoring Pathways provided quickly became an important resource for Daniela.

“I think Pathways is really good for the community of Verdun. There are many families who cannot afford a computer, for example, but Pathways offers so much help for students in the community who need resources.”

And Daniela counts herself among those students.

When she was accepted to a cégep at the end of high school, Pathways helped Daniela pay for her school supplies and registration fees. It was a big source of support for her family and made it possible for Daniela to pursue her dream career in industrial design.

 

 

Erum, ON

Erum graduated from Pathways Scarborough Village in 2017. After completing her undergraduate in Computer Engineering from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), Erum is working with the Pathways program location she attended to explore new volunteering and leadership opportunities.

Erum's time at Pathways helped her learn about ways to mobilize her community for change. She quickly offered to get more involved in the program—and picked up some leadership skills along the way. “Through lending a hand with activities, I was able to learn from many program planning professionals at Pathways. This really gave me confidence to stand up for changes that needed to happen in the community, and get others involved in supporting them.”

These leaderships skills helped Erum become an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion during her time in high school. “My passion for the tech industry led me to enroll in every technical course offered at my school, alongside the robotics team. But much to my surprise, I was the only woman in every one of these contexts,” Erum explains. “The leadership and confidence I developed at Pathways drove me to stand up for change and build a brighter future for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). I organized workshops, meet-and-greets, and relentlessly campaigned throughout high school. By the end of my studies, there were five times as many women enrolled in these courses.”

Erum looks forward to applying to jobs at world-leading progressive companies aligned with her values: empowering minorities and promoting transparency and forward thinking in the workplace. To get there, she plans on using the same tools she discovered through Pathways: listening to others, learning from them, and mobilizing her community to do great things.

 

 

Andrew, ON

Andrew is a 2020 graduate of Pathways Hamilton. Today, Andrew is in the business co-op at the University of Toronto and exploring future career options in the fields of mental health and social work.

Andrew found a sense of purpose by being active in his community. During his time at Pathways, he decided to get involved with The SPACE, a youth-led drop-in centre in Hamilton, Ontario. “The SPACE focuses on supporting Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, and queer youth,” Andrew explains. “I was on the youth council, advising on inclusion efforts for at-risk and marginalized people in the community.”

While the pandemic turned everything around, Andrew was impressed by the ability of communities to organize online. “Organizing and activism are popular amongst my generation because of social media.”

Andrew is motivated to use this momentum and help others go from supporting causes online to getting involved in their communities. It's a shift that he thinks will benefit everyone, including those in the marginalized groups he is focused on helping. “Just improve and complete one small goal, and then complete another one, and then you'll just have completed many without even realizing it.”

 

 

Korinne, QC

Korinne was part of the first cohort of students enrolled in the Pathways Program in Shawinigan, Quebec.

Through the Pathways Program, Korinne was paired with a supportive adult mentor who she could talk to about any difficulties. “I could talk to someone who really understood me and didn't judge me. I could tell her how I was feeling and know that I was not alone. It was a break from everything that was going on,” says Korinne.

In her final years of high school, she also had access to a math tutor, which was essential for her academic success.

The tutoring support enabled her to pass her math classes and obtain her high school diploma. Korinne remembers her tutor attending her high school graduation and celebrating her final marks with her. “I was proud of myself because I succeeded. It was a really, really nice moment,” says Korinne.

After graduating from high school, Korinne used her Pathways scholarship to help with the additional costs of attending cégep in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where she studied languages including Spanish, German, Italian, and English. Currently, Korinne is working towards a degree in Teaching French as a Second Language at the University of Montreal and is employed as a substitute teacher with the Montreal School Board.

 

 

Helen, BC

Helen first learned about the Pathways Program during Grade 8. After hearing about all the benefits the program had to offer, she knew her mom would be keen for her to enrol. “My parents didn't have access to education when they were in China, so when they moved to Canada, they really wanted my family to do well in school.”

One of the biggest incentives for Helen to join the program was the chance to take part in tutoring, which helped her thrive in some of her more challenging courses, including advanced math and science.

Helen also benefitted from the help of her dedicated Pathways student support worker. She was particularly excited to be paired with a staff member who spoke her mom's native language. This helped to bridge the language barrier at home and allowed Helen's mom to ask questions and celebrate her daughter's achievements. Being able to connect with her parents over schooling helped bring Helen's family closer together. “Pathways really helped my parents to be proud of me—it helped create a bond. So even though Pathways is helping individual students to grow, it really brought my family together, too.”

During Helen's last year of high school, financial support from Pathways in the form of a bus pass gave her more freedom to take on extracurricular projects at school and volunteer in her neighbourhood.

Now a high school graduate, Helen is studying business at Simon Fraser University and looks forward to continuing to grow academically.

 


The gap between students in low-income communities and their education is growing. Let's help the leaders of tomorrow graduate from high school.

 

Supporting the Future

We are working to build a nation of high school graduates and empowered youth. This collaboration aims to help close the gap between students in low-income communities and their education. For every T-shirt sold, $10 will be donated to Pathways.