After graduating from Pathways Lachine in 2019, Audrey-Ann began a technical program in Youth Recreational Programming at Cégep de Saint-Laurent. She enrolled in that program because she believes it’s the ideal way to provide essential services to students.
As part of her post-secondary education, Audrey-Ann completed two internships with Pathways in the Verdun and Lachine program locations. She used new skills and techniques she picked up at school to encourage youth in the program to focus on their studies while also having a good time. “We had so much fun,” Audrey-Ann shares. “Pathways students, many of whom were newcomers, could practice their French by playing various games. I also organized a talk on CEGEP to introduce students to post-secondary education.”
Using community programming to motivate young people means a lot to Audrey-Ann. When she was a high school student, she used many services offered by community organizations like Pathways to stay focused on school. “Pathways played a role in my day-to-day life. Having access to snacks and knowing I wouldn’t go hungry even if my lunch box was empty was really important to me.”
Once these basic needs were met, Audrey-Ann was able to focus on her studies and map out her future. She knew her scholarship from Pathways would help her get to CEGEP, which motivated her to plan post-secondary as early as the ninth grade. When it came time to apply, Pathways staff encouraged Audrey-Ann to apply for two more scholarships, which she ended up winning. In the end, most of her studies were funded by awards. “I was the first generation in my family to go to CEGEP. When I applied, all the paperwork was a bit overwhelming. I’m lucky that Pathways staff told me about the scholarships and pushed me to believe in myself.”
Audrey-Ann looks back fondly on the time spent with Pathways staff and other students in the program, such as a group outing to see a dance show. This type of fun, positive, and accessible programming at the heart of Pathways played a significant role in Audrey-Ann’s decision to start a career in youth programming.
“Pathways is structured and supervised, you do your homework, but at the same time, you can socialize and have a bite to eat. It’s a friendly atmosphere for young people and reassuring for parents. When I was a student, my mother would ask me, ‘Where are you? It’s dark out.’ I told her that I was at Pathways, and she was happy that I had a safe and motivating place to go.”