Pathways to Education Canada launches new site in Halifax Spryfield area

Pathways celebrates the first program site to help to reduce high school dropout rates in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, May 18 /CNW/ - Today, Pathways to Education Canada, a program dedicated to reducing high school dropout rates in disadvantaged communities across the nation, announced the further expansion of its program with the launch of its ninth program site in the Spryfield area of Halifax. The Spryfield area, which wrestles 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 gain meaningful employment.

"Some of our youth in the Spryfield area are affected by poverty, insufficient resources and a lack of focus on education, which can make it difficult for them to complete high school," said Marjorie Willison, Executive Director, Chebucto Connections, Pathways host agency in the Spryfield area. "Pathways' arrival in Spryfield will bring together the necessary community resources to respond to the growing need for a comprehensive community-based program to support youth education and drastically reduce the area's high school dropout rates."

Local youth and families site a range of barriers to academic success including lack of access to community resources, affordable tutoring and mentoring opportunities located in the community. Each year, approximately 100 students from the Spryfield area enrol at J. L. Ilsley High School. Of these students, 46 per cent do not graduate. Pathways to Education Canada has partnered with Chebucto Connections and will begin accepting grade nine participants in the Spryfield area program this September. The Pathways program is expected to help significantly lower the 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 Nova Scotia takes us one step closer to providing youth all across the country with the tools and resources they need to succeed."

Founded in 2001 in Toronto's Regent Park, the program expanded in 2007 to include the Ontario communities of Lawrence Heights and Rexdale in Toronto, Kitchener and Ottawa, as well as the Quebec community of Verdun, in south west Montreal. In 2009, the program expanded into Hamilton and Scarborough, Ontario. 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, student advocacy 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 youth in disadvantaged communities. 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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