Pathways Post Fall 2018

First-Ever National Pathways Alumni Ambassador Program
Volunteer-Led Career Mentorship in Ottawa
Leveraging Digital Innovation: Insight from Pathways Canada’s Director of Digital Strategy
Links to Education in Vancouver
The Value of Mentoring: Mashteuiatsh
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FALL 2018
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Alumni Ambassadors
First-Ever National Pathways Alumni Ambassador Program

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Pathways to Education Alumni Ambassador Program.

This new, national initiative will provide opportunities for Pathways to Education alumni to serve as champions of the organization. They will also take a front-row seat as leaders of the Pathways alumni network, a support system and resource for Pathways alumni as they navigate life after high school.

Earlier this year, 12 alumni from across Canada who were nominated by our community partners convened in Toronto for the inaugural Alumni Ambassador orientation weekend.

“We were really excited to be a part of something as big and important as the Alumni Ambassador Program,” shared Hawa, Pathways Alumni Ambassador from the Lawrence Heights community in Toronto, Ontario.

Over the course of the weekend, the Alumni Ambassadors, accompanied by members from the Pathways Canada Alumni Advisory Committee, participated in a range of skill-building activities, including public speaking and personal brand training, interview and resume prep, and discussions about how to engage with other alumni in their local communities.

“I think we learned a lot from one another,” said Hawa. “I remember thinking just how amazing it would be to implement some of the ideas discussed in my own Pathways community.”

Each Pathways Alumni Ambassador will work within their local communities to lead valuable alumni outreach. Additionally, they will support the Pathways Canada Alumni Advisory Committee by providing insight that will guide Pathways to Education’s decision-making and alumni engagement.

As the orientation weekend came to an end, Hawa and her fellow Pathways Alumni Ambassadors returned home, reflecting on some important questions. “How can we take all that we learned and bring it back to our own communities? How can we use it to shape a better, stronger future for Pathways to Education and the Pathways alumni network?”

We look forward to sharing updates with you as the Pathways Alumni Ambassador Program continues to grow and meaningfully support Pathways alumni across Canada.

Are you a Pathways alum? Check out the Pathways to Education Internships website for career opportunities available through our corporate partners, like Northbridge Financial.

Pathways Alumna
Volunteer-Led Career Mentorship in Ottawa

At Pathways to Education, we’re fortunate that volunteers across a wide variety of sectors donate their time and expertise to support Pathways students as career mentors. These volunteers, who work directly with Pathways Program Partners, provide a valuable network of support to Pathways students to help them make informed decisions about their academic and career paths.

Sim, a Pathways volunteer from Ottawa, Ontario, demonstrates the significant role that career mentors play in the lives of Pathways students.

Sim’s journey with Pathways began in 2013 when she partnered with the Program location in Ottawa to launch a volunteer-led career mentoring program for students in Grades 11 and 12.

During the five-week program—which Sim developed with the support of her RBC colleagues and Pathways Ottawa staff—Pathways students took part in weekly sessions led by Sim and her fellow RBC colleagues. Drawing from their work experience, the team of RBC volunteers covered a range of topics, from careers and entrepreneurship, to interview skills and resume building, to financial literacy and budgeting.

The mentorship program was a huge success amongst Pathways students, who appreciated the real-life experiences that the RBC volunteers brought to the table.

“The first round of the program was a huge success,” says Sim. “It was a new experience for many students to have one-on-one exposure with working professionals to help them with their life path.

Building off its initial success, Sim has continued to work with Pathways Ottawa staff and her fellow RBC colleagues to deliver the program to Pathways students in Ottawa for the last five years. With a balance of conversation and workshops, the program continues to provide a space for Pathways students to complete career-skills worksheets, review their resumes one-on-one with an RBC volunteer, and discuss the importance of youth perspective with RBC employees.

Each year, the program concludes with the names of participating Pathways students being passed on to RBC’s hiring team for consideration as prospective candidates for summer student placements in Ottawa.

I have been inspired by how a local initiative can make a positive difference in our communities,” says Sim. “This experience has taught me that knowledge is power and, by sharing it at no cost, it has had a tremendous influence on the future success of these youths.”

Recognizing the positive impact this program is having in the lives of Pathways students in Ottawa, Sim and RBC are now exploring ways to expand this initiative to other Pathways Program locations across the country.

From sharing your career experiences with Pathways students to contributing your voice as an advocate of the Pathways Program, there are many ways that you and your colleagues can lend your support as a volunteer with Pathways to Education. To learn more about volunteering with Pathways, visit our website:

Jason Shim
Leveraging Digital Innovation: Insight from Pathways Canada’s Director of Digital Strategy

Organizations across all industries are leveraging digital innovation to stay ahead of the curve, create efficiencies, and increase their scope; the non-profit sector is no different. Below, Pathways to Education Canada’s Director of Digital Strategy, Jason Shim, offers some insight on why digital innovation is an important part of our work.

Charitable organizations around the world are doing meaningful work to address complex social issues. In our fast-paced world where these issues can evolve quickly, it is important that charities innovate in order to scale their impact and effectively deliver on their missions.  
At Pathways to Education, we recognize the valuable role that digital innovation plays.

When it comes to digital innovation, we have a long history of exploring the possibilities that technology has to offer. For instance:

  • Recognizing that students were spending a lot of their free time on social media, Pathways Program locations began engaging with students on social media in 2009. This approach, which was relatively unexplored by charities at the time, made communication with students more efficient and increased response rates.
  • Pathways Canada was the first charity in the world to issue tax receipts for cryptocurrency donations (e.g., Bitcoin), and we frequently share our knowledge and experience with other organizations who look to us for advice on how they can adopt similar practices. Recognizing that the rising tide lifts all ships, we are proud to offer our support and to inspire other organizations to embrace digital innovation.

As we look to the future, we will continue to explore new ways to leverage digital innovation.

We are currently working on an exciting project with Pathways Kitchener alum, Shubhagata (Shub), who you heard from in our last newsletter. He is the Founder and CEO of Vidhub, an online video review and discussion platform used by agencies across the world, which he founded in 2013. Leveraging his knowledge of the Pathways Program and his experience as an innovator, Shub is helping us to build the next generation of tools that will make it easier for Pathways staff across the country to connect with students and their families using mobile technology. For instance, we are building a sustainable model for sending mass text messages, which will support on-the-ground programming outreach and make sure we are able to meaningfully and sustainably engage with Pathways youth as we grow.

We know that the adoption of digital innovation is critical now and will continue to be in the future, and we are proud to be actively exploring emerging technologies to scale our impact across the country. We look forward to sharing exciting developments as they arise.

Kids using computers
Links to Education in Vancouver

During the 2017-2018 school year, Pathways Vancouver launched Links to Education, a pilot program designed to support Indigenous students in Grade 7 to develop skills that will ease their transition to high school.

"Many families in our community have identified that youth would benefit from receiving supports prior to and during the transition to secondary school, and we know that the sooner we can provide those supports, the better the outcomes will be,” says Amanee Elchehimi, Program Director, Pathways to Education Vancouver. “Through Links to Education, we’ve created a unique opportunity to work with students earlier on in their educational journeys, enhancing their chances of success."

As a part of the program, students visited a local high school to meet with staff and familiarize themselves with the new space. While there, they navigated the halls, locating key spaces like the lunchroom and the counselling and administration offices. The visit supported the students to increase their level of comfort and trust in a new setting.

The students also learned about available resources at the high school (e.g., breakfast and lunch programs, cultural clubs, and sports-related programs), which added to their knowledge-building and helped to develop a sense of community among the students.

Pathways Vancouver is enthusiastic about the short and long-term impacts that Links to Education will have among participants. As the 2018-2019 school year unfolds, Pathways Vancouver will continue to work and collaborate with the students through their next level of engagement in the Pathways Program.

We are grateful for the support of partners like Goldcorp Inc. who champion youth success in Vancouver and make Pathways to Education’s work possible—thank you! To learn more about Pathways to Education in Vancouver, visit

Smiling Pathways Alumnus
The Value of Mentoring: Mashteuiatsh

Pathways alumni often tell us that the mentoring activities that Pathways to Education provided made a huge difference in their lives. Some even go as far as to say that it “changed their life.”

Part of what makes Pathways to Education mentoring so impactful is its adaptability. Across Pathways communities, Pathways Program Partners adapt their mentoring to meet each Pathways students’ needs and goals in real-time, supporting students to build social competencies and self-awareness, develop diverse skill sets, and expand their experiences.

The cooking class led by Pathways to Education in Mashteuiatsh is a great example of the tailored approach to mentoring.

This lunchtime mentorship activity is a favourite among the students, who arrive in droves to make their meals from scratch. During each class, students are responsible for various tasks, including chopping ingredients, cooking, and washing dishes. Above all, they loved tasting their creations and sharing food with one another.

With the help of an enthusiastic volunteer, students learned how to make bannock bread—a form of flat, round bread—during one of the cooking classes. Throughout the activity, the room was quiet as everyone was deeply focused on making their bannock. At the end of the class, the students were very pleased with and proud of their final product. Pathways Mashteuiatsh looks forward to offering this successful programming again.

Thank you to Rio Tinto, Pathways’ Quebec Program Champion and long-time partner, whose continued support of Pathways to Education and Quebec youth makes valuable mentoring programs like these possible. Thank you, Rio Tinto, for championing youth and education.

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