I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social capital, and how important it is to have access to opportunities that support our growth. We want to believe we’re all working on a level playing field, but the reality is that the circles we run in often impact the goals we set for ourselves. They determine what we think we’re capable of, and shape what shoes we see ourselves walking in.
As the Program Director of Pathways to Education in Hamilton, I work with high school students from Hamilton’s Bennetto, Keith, and Gibson-Landsdale neighbourhoods, where youth face significant barriers to education and, in turn, their long-term success. Whether it’s a lack of access to safe spaces, having to work to support their family, needing to take care of their younger siblings, confronting stereotypes and stigma, or the myriad of challenges that stem from financial instability, youth from these neighbourhoods are often forced to take a few steps backwards before they even pass ‘GO.’ The cards are not stacked in their favour.