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BREAKING EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS - A Youth Career Building Initiative 

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At the Alpha Grove, we know that education is the foundation for a bright future. But sometimes challenges get in the way and extra support is needed, especially when it comes to pursuing post-secondary education. We believe that the situation you are born into should not determine your future. For more than 500 young people on the Isle of Dogs who are part of a low-income family, research shows that they will not escape poverty in their lifetime. We think that is not acceptable.

That is why we are focusing on providing local supports and opportunities for young people to build a better future for themselves. The BREAKING EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS program offers supports that wrap around a family and help kids finish secondary school and go on to post-secondary education – the clearest pathway to a life of prosperity.

A student from a low-income family has a 38% likelihood of attending college or university whereas a student from a higher income family has a 63% chance of attending post-secondary education. Breaking Educational Barriers is a direct intervention to change the odds for students in need.

Students enrolled in the Breaking Educational Barriers program will have the chance to earn up to £250 for post-secondary education, as well as access to services including tutoring, social and recreational activities, chances to volunteer in the community, career building and mentoring opportunities, and individualized support.

The program is currently in its first year and is looking to support 25 students in years 9-11.

To support the students and their families, the BREAKING EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS program provides the following supports:

  1. Individual and Family Support: Students are provided with a Success Coach who meets regularly with the student, parents, and school staff to ensure that the student and family are getting the help they need. The Success Coach also provides individual and family counselling, advocacy and system navigation support, and referrals to community services.

  2. Academic Support: Students are provided tutoring support Monday through Thursday each week throughout the academic year, school supplies, and access to technology. Additionally, strategic supports can be put in place to assist with help in core academic subjects.

  3. Social and Career Mentoring: Students are connected with volunteer social mentors in both individual and group settings to help boost self-confidence and improve peer and family relationships. Additionally, students are connected with specialized volunteer mentors to help explore various career paths, determine career goals, and develop an educational plan designed to reach their career goals.

Financial Support: Students are provided financial support to remove potential barriers to academic success such as transportation, school fees, and textbook costs. In addition, students receive a £250 educational scholarship after successful completion of the program.

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