Education is one of the most powerful ways to empower vulnerable children and youth to build successful, independent futures for themselves, despite the circumstances and barriers they have faced through no fault of their own.
For young people in and from the child welfare system, achieving an education can mean access to better jobs and the chance to break cycles of abuse, neglect, and poverty for themselves and future generations.
Unfortunately, kids in and from care face incredible odds and barriers to educational success.
Disruptions to their education, like moving between foster placements or unstable home environments, mean they often graduate high school later than their peers. When and if they do graduate, they are likely to have lower grades, and less than half pursue a post-secondary degree. They also face additional barriers, like mental illness, a lack of family support, and the pressure of supporting themselves financially. Thanks to the support of generous donors, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is able to partner with child- and youth-serving agencies across the country to provide hope for educational success for students with experience in the child welfare system. As part of TD Bank Group’s generous $1 million contribution to the Foundation’s education strategy, we were able to fund the Success in Education Project, delivered by the Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex (CAS London-Middlesex).
“The skills children gain in their earliest school years are critical for continued growth and success throughout life,”
says Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “Through our corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, we’re proud to support Children’s Aid Foundation which is helping provide kids with access to the tools and opportunities they need to achieve their personal goals – today and in the future.
“Its impact goes beyond just the skills they learn, it’s truly helping to create a more inclusive tomorrow for everyone.”
The Success in Education Project provides tutor-mentor support for children and youth who are no longer eligible for Ministry funded educational support. This includes:
- Children/youth transitioning to a permanent home (birth/kin/adoptive family);
- Youth who require a highly specialized and supported school setting;
- Youth 18 years of age and over who are attending secondary school; and
- Youth attending post-secondary school.
Last year, over 70 children and youth received long-term tutor/mentor services through the Project. This includes 22 secondary school students, 17 post-secondary students; and 11 children transitioning to adoption or back to their biological parent or kin placement, as well as 18 youth who participated in the CAS London-Middlesex Night School program – a highly supported, individualized class for at-risk youth who struggle in a regular school setting. A number of other students were assisted by tutor/mentors on a short term or one-time basis.
“Words cannot describe the gratitude I have towards the [Success in Education Project], for giving hope, and genuine support. I will show my thank you through my actions, as I have by graduating, and will continue to do so in my career, and in life generally,” said RYAN*, program beneficiary.
“It is never where you start or come from, but where you finish…Thank you so much for giving me hope.”
he Success in Education Project tutors and mentors play a vital role in connecting students with the existing resources at their school and helping them to maintain their focus on their futures. Their support and encouragement create hope and opportunity for young people to realize goals such as credit accumulation, motivation and engagement, and completing their post-secondary education.
*Name and visual identity have been protected.