Pathways Post Fall 2017

Celebrating The New School Year
Pathways Alumnus Gives Back by Mentoring Current Students
Cook Camera Action
Supporting Post-Secondary Success with the Pathways Innovation Fund
Pathways Scholarship Update from Director of Post-Secondary and Alumni
Pathways Canada Expands to Reach More Youth
Banner Image - Pathways alumna
Fall 2017
Grad Cap Icon Give the gift of graduation
Two students reading

Happy October and welcome to the second-ever issue of the Pathways Post.

This fall, Pathways to Education celebrated the back-to-school season by welcoming more than 1,300 new students to the Pathways Program across the country. We also launched two new Program locations.

The beginning of the new school year is an exciting time for many youth. Getting back into the routine of attending classes, reconnecting with friends, and meeting new people is all part of the adventure. However, youth living in low-income communities face unique barriers that put them at a disadvantage, including, but not limited to, insufficient financial means and a lack of access to resources and networks essential to school success. These barriers can often seem insurmountable and negatively impact achievement.

But thanks to your continued support, the Pathways Program is able to provide more than 5,000 students from low-income communities with a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports that meet their specific needs so that they can ease into the school year with confidence and the resources needed to succeed.

We look forward to sharing the many successes Pathways students will achieve throughout the 2017-2018 school year, and are incredibly grateful to you – our dedicated Pathways supporters – for all that you do to support Pathways students across the country to realize their true potential.  

Smiling Pathways Alumna
Pathways Alumnus Gives Back by Mentoring Current Students

“I feel there's not enough resources within low-income communities when it comes to film and creative industries, and not a lot of youth think they can have a career as a photographer or anything like that – especially if they’re a minority,” explains Richard. “I want to reach out to Pathways students to show them that you can have a career in a creative field and that it can be sustainable. It requires a lot of work and passion, but you can do it.”

Participating students will learn how to use a camera, edit film, create a shot list, tell a story, and write scripts. They’ll also receive training in business skills like how to talk to a client, keeping track of expenses, and budgeting. They’ll even support a professional production that Black Belt Productions is working on so they can add that experience to their resume.

Richard hopes that, through this mentorship program, he can help Pathways students develop the basic skills required to get into post-secondary education for film or video production, or to start a career in that field.

“So many young people are in a process of defining themselves, and doing something creative can often help you learn more about who you are. I want to help young people find their way in life,” says Richard. “And, in the end, the goal is to give them experience and help them build their career.”

Participating youth are welcome to stay involved with Black Belt Productions as long as they want, and there’s no set number of youth who can participate.

“When I came out of film school, like everyone else, it was hard to find work,” remembers Richard. “It's tough in the film industry. I want to do what I can to make it easier for young people.”

To learn more the mentoring program and to view some of Richard’s work, visit: 

Pathways Career Night
Cook Camera Action

Pathways students in Kingston, Ontario created their own cooking show through a partnership between Pathways Kingston and Loving Spoonful’s Cook Camera Action program.

The reoccurring workshop provided Pathways students with an array of new skills, including how to cook healthy meals and how to use digital technology to film and capture cooking instruction, as well as skills involved in media production. Each workshop was capped off with participating students coming together to celebrate and feast on the meal they had just prepared.

It was a great opportunity for Pathways students to learn healthy habits, build 21st century skills, and interact with their Pathways peers in a fun, positive environment.

The success of the Cook Camera Action workshop and others like it across the country is made possible because of committed staff and volunteers, consistent evaluation and improvement, and strong partnerships across multiple sectors. We would like to thank one of our National Food Partners, President’s Choice® Children’s Charity, for their support of the Pathways Program and for helping Pathways students across the country to achieve educational success.

Community Knowledge Roundtable
Supporting Post-Secondary Success with the Pathways Innovation Fund

This past school year, Grade 11 students at Pathways Rexdale completed ‘post-secondary profiles’ that matched each student’s interests to potential paths for life after high school graduation.

This new step was initiated by staff at Pathways Rexdale in Toronto, Ontario who, through working with students every day, recognized the opportunity to improve the supports offered to Pathways Rexdale students as they transition to post-secondary life. Their goal was to ensure that 100 per cent of Pathways students entering Grade 12 have a plan in place for their transition to post-secondary education, training, or employment.

We are pleased to share that Pathways Rexdale was not only successful in meeting their goal, but was also able to address an important need to broaden Pathways Rexdale students’ awareness of the wide range of career paths available to them by creating a menu of opportunities that these young people would otherwise not have had access to.

The Pathways Program has a history of demonstrated success, made possible in part by our commitment to adapting to the needs of the local communities we serve. We are proud to support our Pathways Program Partners from coast to coast through the Pathways Innovation Fund – an initiative that creates a space for our community partners to request additional funding for time-bound program development projects covering a range of themes, such as program efficiencies, program excellence, Indigenous programs and evaluation, technology, and expansion to reach more students.

The post-secondary profile pilot project, initiated by Pathways Rexdale, is a perfect example of why innovation at the community level matters. By being on the ground, embedded in the fabric of their communities, our Pathways Program Partners are able to clearly identify the best ways to adapt to meet evolving cultural, social, and educational needs in real time – while always remaining true to the core elements that make Pathways successful.

We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of two of our valued partners, LesLois Shaw Foundation and Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, Lead Innovation Sponsor, who make it possible for Pathways to support innovation and growth across the country.

Group of Pathways Alumni
Pathways Scholarship Update from Director of Post-Secondary and Alumni

Aaron House, Director of Post-Secondary and Alumni at Pathways Canada works each day to ensure Pathways students across the country have a seamless transition to life after high school. One aspect of that includes overseeing the Pathways scholarship offered to each student to support their post-secondary education or training. Over the past few years, provincial and federal governments across the country have been working to harmonize their student loan/grant programs. Below, Aaron explains how this affects Pathways students.

It takes an entire program of supports — academic, financial, social, and one-on-one — to help youth from low-income communities to overcome the barriers that can stand in the way of their high school graduation. However, I’ve heard from many alumni who’ve said that the scholarship they received while in the Program was one of the most important supports Pathways provided.

Working closely with Pathways alumni, it’s been easy for me to see the significant impact the Pathways scholarship has on students and the many doors it opens for their future. For example, Ines, an alumna from the Verdun community in Montreal, Quebec, received her college diploma in chemistry after graduating from high school and went on to study chemical engineering at university. She told us that, “thanks to the scholarship [she] received, [she] wasn’t limited in the universities [she] could apply to.”

It’s my goal to ensure Pathways students like Ines are always receiving the maximum benefit possible through the scholarship, and so I actively engage with provincial government contacts to receive news and updates which have the potential to affect Pathways students, the supports they receive, and their path to a successful future.

Over the past few years, provincial student loan/grant programs have been moving towards full harmonization with their federal counterpart. As a result, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and the Nova Scotia Student Loan program will be fully harmonized with the federal program for the 2018-2019 school year. This means that, moving forward, any third party financial supports totalling over $1,800 in a given year will automatically reduce the grant amount a student receives from their provincial and federal loan/grant programs dollar-for-dollar. This includes the Pathways scholarship, which is submitted directly to post-secondary institutions and exceeds $1,800 per student.

To avoid any reduction in post-secondary support, we are setting up a process that will automatically limit the Pathways scholarship disbursement amount in harmonized provinces to a maximum of $1,800 annually per student. It’s important to note that there will be no reduction in earned Pathways scholarship dollars, simply a limit on the amount dispersed in a given year to avoid any reduction in available grant support by the province. 

The decision to pursue post-secondary education can be overwhelming for many students and their families. Although the provincial and federal governments provide significant financial assistance to students and families in need, the Pathways scholarship is an important source of financial support needed to cover the cost of post-secondary applications, registration fees, text books, and other costs. Many Pathways alumni now studying in university or college have shared that, without the scholarship, they might have not have been able to pursue post-secondary education after high school.

Kazi, a Pathways alumna from Hamilton, Ontario who went on to study nursing after high school, is a perfect example of this. “Getting in the nursing program was exciting, but also financially burdensome,” says Kazi. “The Pathways scholarship helped not only with paying for the application, but also helped cover some important costs as I transitioned to university. This included buying a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope, a uniform, and books. Without this scholarship, it would have been extremely difficult to cover these costs, especially when my mom – a single parent – was supporting my whole family and trying to make ends meet.”

It’s been an honour to see the Pathways scholarship at work, and we are very grateful for donors such as the Johnson Scholarship Foundation who make the Pathways scholarship possible. Since 2014, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation has made an outstanding commitment to supporting the Pathways Scholarship Fund and continue to demonstrate their dedication to making Canada a Graduation Nation.

If you have any questions regarding harmonization or the changes to Pathways scholarship disbursement, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Group of Pathways staff
Pathways Canada Expands to Reach More Youth

We have partnered with the Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC) in Edmonton and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) to launch new Pathways Program locations in their respective cities, supported by the Government of Canada.

Together, through these strong partnerships, we will work towards our mutual goal of increasing the high school graduation rates of Indigenous youth and addressing inequity in education in the cities of Edmonton and Saskatoon.

In addition to being the first Pathways Program locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, these new locations mark Pathways Canada’s first partnerships with both a Friendship Centre and a Tribal Council.

Scheduled to launch in the 2017-2018 school year, CNFC and STC will deliver the award-winning Pathways Program – a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one support – to Indigenous students living in Edmonton and Saskatoon, respectively.

A Message from Pathways Canada

“Pathways is proud to work alongside our new partners to deliver a multi-year commitment to Indigenous youth and their families, all with the goal of increasing high school graduation rates,” says Sue Gillespie, President and CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. “With the launch of these two new Program locations in Edmonton and Saskatoon, Pathways is expanding our reach, increasing the number of youth who can benefit from the Pathways Program, and moving closer to our goal of building a Graduation Nation. Pathways acknowledges that every youth has the right to education and is proud to respond to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

A Message from CNFC 

“Education is the key to self-sufficiency and self-determination for our people. We must engage their educational systems and make them our own. This project gives opportunity for community, educational institutions, and FNMI people to walk the road of knowledge sharing together,” says Ron Walker, Executive Director, CNFC

A Message from STC

“Our mutual goal of improving the graduation rates of Indigenous students in provincial schools and ultimately in our member First Nations is an opportunity to work together and share in the responsibility of educating Indigenous youth – as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Call to Action #7,” says Tribal Chief Felix Thomas, STC

A Message from the Government of Canada

“Young people deserve a fair shot at success and our government will support them every step of the way,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “That’s why we are investing in the Pathways Program so it can expand its operations and help more young people, including Indigenous youth, to get the support they need to graduate from high school and build a future full of potential.”

We look forward to sharing updates with you regarding these exciting new partnerships.

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