Retirees' Association

Retirees Association of Queen's

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Pathways to Education Changes Lives

Education is a subject near and dear to the hearts of Queen’s retirees.  Sometimes students need a helping hand to realize their full potential and derive the benefits that education can provide.  An innovative community-based program, Pathways to Education (P2E), is designed to increase high school graduation rates for youth living in Kingston’s predominately low-income north end, and help students successfully continue on to post-secondary education or training and break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.  Pathways to Education in Kingston is one of a suite of programs and services, provided through the Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC), that promote and support individual and community health.

Pathways to Education works.  In June 2017, the fourth cohort of Kingston students completed the program and graduated from high school.  

There are approximately 295 Kingston grade 9 – 12 students enrolled each year in the P2E program.  Of the 182 alumni, 57% are enrolled in, or have graduated from, postsecondary education.  The majority of students moving forward to post-secondary choose college as their destination. Efforts are being made to increase the number of students going to university, including opportunities for students in grades 7, 8 and high school to visit Queen’s campus and engage with faculty and staff to understand the options and opportunities available to them.

P2E supports students through:

  • academic tutoring in all subjects
  • mentoring activities including field trips, campus tours, YMCA memberships, training and skills-building opportunities
  • financial incentives such as school lunch vouchers and grocery cards
  • assistance with career exploration and planning post-secondary options  
  • post-secondary scholarships

I began volunteering with the Kingston Pathways to Education fundraising cabinet in 2011. I have a passion for education, and for reducing barriers to access, and this organization is a perfect fit for me. Effective January of this year, I assumed cabinet co-chair responsibilities with my colleague Terri McDade, former Dean of Arts at St. Lawrence College. Together we bring a strong foundation of student support and a commitment to ensuring our local Pathways program thrives and students have access to all the support they need to complete high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education, training or meaningful employment.

Kingston is an affluent and well-educated community, with Queen’s, RMC and St. Lawrence College sometimes creating a bubble in which people do not realize that there is a large population within our community that needs our help. Barriers to a post-secondary education are more than financial, and the Pathways program helps students access the education that can improve their futures.

Pathways to Education is a national program with eighteen sites operating across Canada. The funding for all the sites is provided by a combination of government grants, large national corporate donors and philanthropic sponsors, and local fundraising. The Kingston annual budget is over $1,000,000, of which approximately $250,000 must be raised locally, including a substantial contribution from the KFL&A United Way. Our small local fund-raising cabinet of volunteers spearhead activities in Kingston and work to engage the community and various community partners to support Pathways to Education.

Queen’s is a leader in helping students attend and complete university studies, regardless of their personal financial circumstances. The RAQ Bursary is an example of resources available to financially assist students. Also, the Queen’s Pathways to Education Award provides renewable funding for students from any Pathways to Education site across Canada.

Supporting Pathways to Education provides a very real and tangible way to change the world. There are many ways that Queen’s retirees can help:
 volunteer your time as a tutor or mentor (http://www.kchc.ca/pathways-to-education/volunteering-with-pathways-to-e...)
 participate in local fundraising events. Events will be promoted in RAQnews, timing permitting
 explore the potential of joining the fundraising cabinet
 donate directly to Pathways to Education (https://www.pathwaystoeducation.ca - Direct your gift to Kingston)

Pathways to Education is changing the lives of studentsEducation is a critical social determinant of health. The vision to improve the health and prosperity for the future of our local youth is a driving force behind the Pathways program. To quote Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Jo-Anne Brady