Kingston Youth Going FARther on Pathways to Education! 

Rotary is assisting vulnerable youth in their transition from high school to post secondary pursuits.

Thanks to a $140,000 Rotary Global Grant initiated by the Rotary Club of Cataraqui-Kingston, high school graduates of the Pathways to Education Program will now have greater access to ongoing support through the new Rotary FAR Project as they move on to post-secondary education and meaningful employment!

https://youtu.be/CPrpKz4PMng

Pathways to Education (P2E) is a program open to high school students in 21 economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Canada, including Kingston.  By providing vulnerable students with tutoring, mentoring, financial support and incentives, and advocacy, high school graduation rates have soared from 40% to 79% since the program began in 2010.

However, the need for further support beyond high school was identified when many of the first successful Pathways Alumni who registered in post secondary programs dropped out early on.  Transitioning to a post secondary environment can be extremely difficult in the face of parental or community inexperience or indifference.  Staying the course often requires support, whether family or community.   

In  response to this need, Pathways Kingston secured temporary funding for a Facilitator of Alumni Relations (FAR) for 1 day per week, to identify and help alumni address difficulties. The success of this intervention was clear:  the post-secondary retention rate of Kingston’s P2E alumni was increased to Ontario standards or higher!

When there is a need within our Community, Rotary is there to help!

Building on the success of the P2E alumni intervention program, the Rotary Global Grant will fund the Facilitator of Alumni Relations (FAR) position for 3 days a week for the next 3 years!  For Pathways Alumni, it means that they will have continued personal, academic, and vocational support during the key transitional period between their post secondary education and meaningful employment.  The FAR will coordinate and provide the required services.  

Rotarians step up as  Mentors!

The importance of mentoring our local Pathways Students has been demonstrated over the past few years in the current P2E high school program.  Mentoring will continue to be an integral part of the support provided by the Rotary FAR Project to the alumni who have moved on to post secondary pursuits.  However, not all the alumni are ready to make a decision about their future at this point.  These individuals are at the crossroads of deciding their path in life and clearly could benefit from some guidance.  Rotarians saw this situation as an opportunity to enact Rotary’s motto of Service above Selfby volunteering to enter into a one-to-one mentoring relationship the undecided P2E alumni.

To date, 20 Rotarians have completed professional mentorship training through the KEYS InSight Program  and several Mentor/Mentee relationships have been established and more “matching” is in the works!

According to Roger Romero, the Program Coordinator for the Kingston Community Health Centre (KCHC), the Pathways Rotary FAR alumni program is a life changer in terms of breaking the cycle of poverty through successful initiatives that keep our youth in school, help develop self-confidence, and encourage ambitions of a productive and satisfying future.

It is hoped that the Rotary FAR Project will eventually re-engage alumni of the P2E program as mentors to students at the high school level and serve as role models for the next generation.

The Rotary Club of Cataraqui-Kingston is proud to have brought the FAR Project from an idea to reality, providing at-risk youth with the opportunity of breaking the cycle of poverty.   However, the success of this project is not ours alone.  It began with all the local Rotary clubs teaming up and extending globally through the Rotary organization and through our network of Rotarians.

And Talk about Going FARther! Select this interview to hear how Rotary Auction funds helped to support this project!