Pathways to Education Canada launches new Scarborough Village site

Pathways celebrates fourth Toronto site helping to reduce high school dropout rates

TORONTO, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - Today, Pathways to Education Canada, a program dedicated to reducing high school dropout rates in disadvantaged communities, announced the further expansion of its program with the launch of its fourth Toronto site in Scarborough Village. Scarborough Village, a community wrestling with many socio-economic issues, has now joined the growing list of communities whose students will be more likely to graduate from high school, go on to pursue post-secondary education and become contributing members of society.

"Many youth in this community are affected by poverty, unemployment, family breakdown and a lack of focus on education," said Ronni Gorman, Program Director, Pathways to Education Scarborough Village. "Pathways has now provided them with the financial and emotion support and encouragement they need to not only succeed in school, but in life."

Prior to implementing the Pathways to Education program in Scarborough Village in September 2009, local youth and families sited a range of barriers to academic success. These included a lack of access to funds needed for transportation to schools in neighbouring communities (Scarborough Village does not have its own high school), difficulty interacting with teachers and administrators due to communication barriers and a perceived lack of respect, increased pressure on students to find work in order to contribute to the family income and miscommunication regarding the credits required for students to enter certain trades leading them to leave school early.

In the first year of the Scarborough Village program, 83 students enrolled in the program representing approximately 75 per cent of the eligible population. This is expected to help significantly lower the 32 per cent dropout rate that the community currently sees.

"Together with our communities, our partners and our students, Pathways to Education Canada has achieved significant outcomes for disadvantaged youth by providing them with a community-based program dedicated to enhancing academic and social development," said David Hughes, President and CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. "Our expansion into Scarborough Village takes us one step closer to providing youth all across the country with the tools and resources they need to succeed."

Founded in Regent Park in 2001, the program expanded in 2007 to include Lawrence Heights and Rexdale in Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa and Montreal. In 2009, the program expanded into Hamilton and Scarborough Village. Through the Pathways program these communities have succeeded in reducing the number of academically "at risk" youth by up to 52 per cent.

Pathways to Education was created to help reduce the dropout rate among disadvantaged youth in Toronto's Regent Park community. Pathways has found that students' dropping out of high school is often based on an inherent lack of opportunity and hope for future aspirations, which is systemic in similar neighbourhoods across the country. The dropout rate has long-term national social and economic impacts, as students who drop out of high school tend to earn lower wages, pay less tax, commit more crime and have higher social services costs than students who graduate or those who achieve post-secondary education.

The Pathways to Education Program offers a comprehensive, community-based and results-focused approach that sets it apart from other programs in its holistic commitment to improving the opportunities of participating students. Pathways provides academic tutoring, group and career-oriented mentoring, social support and financial assistance, including transit tickets or meal vouchers as well as academic scholarships, from a wide range of volunteers and community partners dedicated to working interactively with the students and alumni.

About Pathways to Education Canada - www.pathwaystoeducation.ca

Pathways to Education Canada is a community-based charitable organization that is reducing poverty and its effects by lowering the dropout rate and increasing access to post-secondary education among disadvantaged youth. Pathways was developed by the Regent Park Community Health Centre which launched the initial program in 2001 and now operates in eight communities, with programs in Toronto (Regent Park, Lawrence Heights, Rexdale and Scarborough) well as Kitchener, Ottawa, Montreal and Hamilton.

SOURCE Pathways to Education Canada

For further information: For further information: Josie Haynes, Optimum Public Relations, (416) 934-8012, josie.haynes@cossette.com


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