Each year, thousands of Canadian youth will drop out of high school. This seemingly simple and personal act alters the course of their lives forever. It’s a move that costs them their education and future earning potential. Taken collectively, it costs their community by ingraining a culture of failure. Nationally, it costs our economy through a reduced employment pool and tax base, and an enormous strain on public expenditures.
Tens of thousands of youth in Canada’s lower-income neighbourhoods have the potential to succeed in school but are faced with barriers to education that are created by poverty. Some of the barriers young people face are insufficient financial means, lack of positive role models in the community, absence of parental support, or integration into a new country and culture. For youth experiencing these challenges, high school graduation can seem like a dream.