Pathways Post - Summer 2017

Message from Sue
Graduation Season
Youth Voices
Career Night
Community Knowledge Roundtable
Pathways Internships
Research Matters
Banner Image - Pathways alumna
Grad Cap Icon Give the gift of graduation
Group Photo of Pathways Alumni

Welcome to our new Pathways Post. We have transitioned our newsletter to an entirely digital publication that continues to capture insights from Pathways students and alumni, Program highlights, and the generous support from our donors. We’re thrilled with the possibilities of the Pathways Post’s easy-to-read format, bright layout, and its eco-friendly platform. We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments on our new publication.

Our inaugural Pathways Post coincides with the Pathways graduation season, a time to celebrate new beginnings and opportunities. This year, Pathways Program locations across the country are celebrating close to 900 students who are graduating from high school and transitioning onto the next chapter of their lives. With each new Pathways graduate, our network grows with potential. The students who are graduating this year are the future leaders of our diverse country and we look forward to watching them succeed and achieve their dreams as Pathways alumni.

Thank you to all of our incredible Program partners, community partners, volunteers, and generous donors who have made the graduation season for Pathways students a time of celebration. We have a lot to be thankful for as we finish off another year of successful programming coast-to-coast, especially with two Program locations celebrating their first graduations this year – read through to learn more!

Without your continued support in the Pathways Program, we wouldn’t be able to provide students living in low-income communities across Canada the opportunity to realize their potential.


Sue Gillespie
President & CEO
Pathways to Education Canada

Pathways Graduation Hat Toss

We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of close to 900 Pathways students from across the country who are graduating from high school this year. For so many Pathways students, they will be the first in their family to receive a high school diploma. Congratulations to the class of 2017 – their hard work, determination, and resilience will continue to be felt in the Pathways community as we welcome them now as Pathways alumni.

With your support, the Pathways Program was able to guide this graduating class through their high school years by providing them with the resources they needed to succeed. Thank you!

Graduation ceremonies are already well underway– from harbour cruises to formal dinners – Pathways students, their friends, families, mentors, and teachers are celebrating this incredible milestone. We would like to extend a special thank you to Shaw Communications as the 2017 Graduation Celebration Champion for their generous support of the celebrations.

A special congratulations goes out to Pathways Shawinigan and Pathways Sherbrooke, two Program locations in Quebec, as they celebrate their first graduations this June. More than 60 students across both locations will be graduating as the first alumni in their region.

Pascale Fraser, Executive Director of Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Shawinigan, Pathways community partner, is proud of the first graduating group at Pathways Shawinigan, “Pathways Shawinigan will celebrate the graduation of its first cohort of graduates with tremendous pride. Building a generation of 100% Shawinigan graduates means changing the face of a community. We wish each of them a great success!”

Smiling Pathways Alumna

The summer before entering Grade 9, I attended an information session at the Pathways to Education office in Regent Park with my mom. “This will be good for you,” she said, and little did I know, she was right. Pathways wasn’t just good for me, it was great for me. 

The social support I received was the most important part of Pathways for me because I didn’t really have anyone to talk to at home. Pathways created a sense of community by bringing together students from different high schools, including my own. I was able to build a solid friend group that existed inside and outside of Pathways.

Many youth in my community also faced financial burdens that we had to constantly overcome. One way Pathways alleviated some of those burdens was by making transportation accessible. With financial support from Pathways, I was able to travel by bus to school, which helped to improve my attendance record. I went from focusing on how to get to school to school itself, which helped to improve my grades.

Although I’ve now graduated from the Pathways Program, I still keep in touch with my mentors and friends. This summer, I’m happy to say that I have an internship at Pathways to Education Canada as a Digital Media Assistant. The Pathways Program has come full circle for me and it’s one of the biggest reasons why I encourage youth from my community to join! Pathways is more than a high school experience – it’s a life experience. My success story is one of many from the community, and for that, I thank Pathways.

- Leandre, Pathways alumna

Pathways Canada welcomes three alumni interns to the communications team this summer. Through the Canada Summer Jobs program, alumnae Leandre and Farihah are onboard as Digital Media Assistants and thanks to our partners at TD, Pathways alumnus Nike is our Digital Content Producer, as part of the TD Community Scholarship fund.

Pathways Career Night

Pathways Program locations across Canada host career nights or job fairs for Pathways students in their senior years to give them the opportunity to learn about their career and post-secondary options. These events are a great way for students to start thinking about what they are interested in pursuing after they graduate from high school – and to start making professional connections!

Pathways North Hamilton’s third annual Career Gala in April hosted over 30 guest exhibitors. More than 120 Pathways students attended the event and met with representatives from the trades, healthcare, social services, civil services, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), entrepreneurship, education, and finance industries. In addition, several organizations whose focus is on providing alternate career paths and job-skill readiness were in attendance.

Great success was also had at Pathways Rexdale’s annual Career Night. More than 60 students attended the event and had the opportunity to connect with professionals from a variety of fields, including a corporate lawyer and a nurse practitioner. Pathways Rexdale was thrilled to welcome five employees from Symcor, a financial organization and national partner of Pathways to Education. Thank you Haresh Desai, Michelle Gisondi, Jeannie White, Sadhisha Ambagahawita, and Chameli Naraine, President and CEO of Symcor – we hope you enjoyed the event!

These events would not be possible without the dedication and energy of volunteers and partners. Thank you to all who attended the events to inspire and motivate Pathways youth to find their path. Together, we are supporting a generation of youth who excited about their futures and the steps they will take to get there.

Community Knowledge Roundtable

On April 24, 2017, Pathways Canada held its fourth Community Knowledge Roundtable at the RBC Centre in Toronto, Ontario. This year’s theme was “Measuring the Impact of Youth-Serving Programs”. Co-hosted by Pathways to Education Canada and RBC, the event provided a forum for youth-serving organizations and professionals to share their expertise, lessons learned, and research on how to most effectively measure youth-serving programming and report on impact.

More than 100 attendees heard from Ben Miller, the Director of Citizenship Impact Measurement & Evaluation & Reporting at RBC, as well as panelists from the YMCA of Greater Toronto, YouthREX Research & Evaluation Exchange, The Students Commission of Canada, Ontario Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, and Young Lives in Global & Local Contexts.

Pathways alumna Madeleine, currently a student at the University of Toronto and the former Vice Chair of the Ontario Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, was a panelist at the event. Her insight on the Pathways Program and the importance of providing youth with opportunities resonated with attendees, “Engage youth in evaluation. Providing feedback is not engaging – being involved in designing evaluation is!”

Thank you to the participating panelists and attendees, who offered valuable insights into the current landscape of youth-serving programs, and a special thank you to RBC for hosting and sponsoring the event.

Group of Pathways Alumni

In 2016, Pathways Canada formed the Employment Advisory Council (EAC) to jumpstart production on a website designed to help our corporate partners create and host internship opportunities for Pathways students and alumni. The EAC is a volunteer group comprised of professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

We’re excited to announce that the Pathways Internship website was successfully launched in February 2017. Northbridge Financial, supporter and national partner of Pathways to Education, generously funded the project and provided their expertise on web design. The website is an ongoing project that features testimonials from Pathways students and alumni who have completed internships with partnering organizations. Partner testimonials, along with their advice on how to welcome students, are posted on the website as a resource for employers who are new to hosting internships.

The development of the internship website would not have been possible without the amazing support of the following Northbridge employees: Danielle Pitl, Director, Corporate Communications and Afsaneh Safari, User Experience Designer, who both assisted with the development of the new EAC website, and Debbie Chalkley, VP, Business Relationship Development, who also serves as the Co-Chair of the EAC.

Since 2016, over 20 Pathways students and alumni have received internship or summer placement opportunities at a variety of organizations such as Pathways Canada, Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., Progressive Waste Solutions, Stikeman Elliott, RBC, and Northbridge Financial. These internships provide an exciting opportunity for Pathways students and alumni to gain on-the-job skills and to learn about a profession they are interested in pursuing.

Pathways alumnus Raffatul, was a Talent Management Summer Student at Stikeman Elliott,

“Being able to take part in this internship was so valuable for me and I hope I’ll be able to continue to have experiences like this because it taught me a lot about myself but also the world around me. I learned firsthand what it’s like to be a lawyer, time management skills, and the importance of team work. I hope more students get this kind of exposure because it teaches you to think about your future and where you really want to be.” 

We encourage you to visit the new site and consider hosting an internship today!

Student Reading

As part of our knowledge mobilization strategy, Pathways to Education Canada develops plain language research summaries on topics relevant to our mission of supporting youth in low-income communities to graduate from high school. The Research department at Pathways Canada reviews and selects current studies that focus on youth development, high school dropout rates, and student success. 

The summaries are designed to provide our network of Pathways staff, volunteers, donors, and partners with a brief overview of the key findings and the methodology used in the research study to improve program delivery and best practices.

Our January 2017 summary focuses on a study that identified 12 key factors in a young person’s personal, social, academic, and community contexts that promote high school graduation and continued enrolment. The authors of the study conducted a literature review that included 250 journal articles and reports, and spanned 25 years of research on high school graduation in the United States.

The wraparound support – academic, financial, social, and one-on-one – that the Pathways Program provides students with, supports the study’s findings of creating an environment that reflects students' needs. This is the first time that a study on early high school leaving has focused on positive youth development. Click here to access the full summary.

Pathways Canada’s research summaries are published monthly on our website and social media pages. To see more, visit Pathways Research Summaries page.

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