Tapping the potential of all Canadians, The YMCA and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation partner to increase post-secondary participation

    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - Today, Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the
YMCA of Greater Toronto, and Norman Riddell, CEO and Executive Director of the
Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, unveiled a new partnership that aims
to ensure that more young people from Aboriginal, first generation and
low-income families continue school past high school.
    The Post-Secondary Access Partnership will provide information and
one-on-one advising to students and their families from groups that
traditionally do not pursue education beyond high school. The program aims to
show how a post-secondary education is not only a desirable option for them,
but also a viable one.
    Four out of ten young Canadians do not finish high school, do not go on
to post-secondary education or drop out of post-secondary studies. These
students generally come from First Nations communities and families where
parents did not go beyond high school. To succeed in a global economy that
demands highly skilled workers, a country like Canada, with a low birth rate
and an aging workforce, must tap the potential of people who are
underrepresented in post-secondary programs.
    "Our two organizations share the belief that lifting barriers that
restrict access for under-represented groups creates an economically healthy
equitable society," said Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the YMCA of
Greater Toronto.
    "We are delighted at the Foundation to work with the YMCA on this
project. Their on-going dedication to inclusiveness, personal growth and young
people makes them the ideal partner in this endeavour," said Norman Riddell,
CEO and Executive Director of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.
    The program will be piloted at YMCA sites in the Greater Toronto Area
(Downtown Toronto, Newmarket and Rexdale), Montreal (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and
Notre-Dame-de-Grace) and Edmonton. These centres will begin operations in the
new year. Additional sites will be added as the project moves forward. The
YMCA will look to partner with a wide range of other local and national
organizations in delivering the projects.
    The Foundation will provide seed funding ($220,000 in national funding
plus $50,000 per project) and training to the partnership. The YMCA will
coordinate local partnerships, deliver the services and work together with the
Foundation to ensure the future financial viability of the projects.

    About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

    Serving over 400,000 members at more than 240 program sites throughout
the GTA, The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity focused on community support
and development. By making connections, collaborating, and mirroring our
region's diversity, the YMCA believes it can become the network that binds
many neighbourhoods into one city, one country, and one world.

    About the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

    The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private organization
created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It provides students with
opportunities to pursue the post-secondary education they need to prepare
themselves for the future. Each year, it distributes some $340 million in the
form of bursaries and scholarships throughout Canada. Since its inception, it
has awarded 800,000 bursaries, with a total value of $2.3 billion, to Canadian
post-secondary students. www.millenniumscholarships.ca

For further information:

For further information: Jamie Slater, YMCA of Greater Toronto, (416)
413-1020 ext. 2362; Janet Sandor, The Impact Group, (416) 481-7070 ext. 25,
(416) 802-5526 (cell)

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