About the Lawrence Heights Community
Lawrence Heights is a community of ethnic and linguistic diversity. Residents are predominantly newcomers and first-generation immigrants from East and West African countries, the Caribbean and Latin America. There are 1,080 family units and a high proportion of single-parent families, with an average household annual income of approximately $15,000. It is one of a number of Toronto communities affected by youth gangs and violent crime involving firearms over the past few years. Other youth issues in this community include: few links between the schools and families in the community (often because of language barriers); little to no after school programming; and high dropout rates, particularly for boys.
In October 2005, Toronto City Council designated Lawrence Heights as one of 13 priority neighbourhoods, requiring infrastructure investment and improvement of community services. Following an extensive community engagement process, Lawrence Heights Pathways to Education was launched in the fall of 2007 with local youth entering grade 9. The Lawrence Heights program is offered through an alliance between United Way of Greater Toronto and Pathways Canada.
Since the program’s inception in September 2007, Pathways Lawrence Heights has succeeded in:
- Reducing the number of grade 9 students in the Pathways program who are academically “at risk” by over 50 percent
- Reducing the number of grade 9 students in the Pathways program who have high rates of absenteeism by over 40 per cent
- Enrolled over 90 per cent of eligible students in the program
The catchment area for Lawrence Heights Pathways is:
South: Lawrence Avenue West
East: Varna Drive and Cather Crescent
North: Ranee Avenue
West: Flemington Road, Blossomfield Drive, Flemington Road, Allen Road South
Three addresses on Neptune Drive: 135, 145 and 155
The Lawrence Heights Pathways to Education Program is located at:
700 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 440B
Toronto, ON M6A 3B4
Pathways to Education Lawrence Heights is administered by host agency Unison Health and Community Services, a non-profit, community-based organization that strives to engage residents through high quality accessible health and community services, empower them to build on strength and inspire change, and enhance the health of its communities. To visit Unison Health and Community Services’ website, please click here.
How to Join
All students in the geographic catchment area are eligible to enrol in the Pathways program, regardless of their academic performance or economic circumstance. Initial enrolment begins in grade 9 and students remain in the program until the end of grade 12, however students may join the program in any high school grade where applicable. The Pathways program is at no cost to the participants. If you would like to join the Pathways program and are currently enrolled in grades 9 – 12, you or your parent/guardian can contact Jessica Rodger at [email protected].
How to Volunteer
The Pathways to Education Program requires skilled and committed volunteers to serve as tutors and mentors. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an innovative program, which can make a positive difference in the lives of youth and their families. Both one-on-one and group tutoring positions are available and training is provided. Recruitment is ongoing. Join the dedicated team of Pathways volunteers and you will see how your time contribution will make a difference in the lives of Lawrence Heights’ youth.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor or group mentor in the Pathways Lawrence Heights program, please contact [email protected] indicating your area of interest and expertise and someone will contact you with more information.