In This Issue

Jump to Page

Cover1 | Cover2 | TOC | 3 | 4 | 4a | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | Cover3 | Cover4

Audio version



Times the salary earned by those with a postsecondary credential than those with a high school diploma.

Youth to Postsecondary

“Legal” aid for those who need it most

Y2P students and supporters (l to r) Kazima Raza, Emma Michael, Daniel Michael and Hammed Babatunde.

HAMMED BABATUNDE arrived in Canada last September as a refugee from Nigeria. With no family or connections, his first stop was a mosque, followed by a shelter. At the shelter, he learned about a new academic upgrading program being offered for free by Seneca and the Toronto District School Board, called Youth to Postsecondary, or “Y2P.”

Hammed finished high school back home, but needed more math and English training to enter college and pursue a career in health care. He is one of many young people, new to Canada, or coming from disadvantaged situations, without a high school diploma, who need an affordable way to upgrade their skills and attend college. Y2P provides this opportunity.

“Y2P really strengthened my foundation in math and English,” says Hammed. “It’s the beginning if you want to go to college or university.”

This program was a passion project for the retired Chair of Seneca’s Faculty of Workforce Skills Development, Leolyn Hendricks. Her tireless work providing academic upgrading services at Yorkgate Campus led her to develop this unique initiative for those without the basic skills to consider college.

Y2P now consists of a 30-week academic and life skills program for youth, aged 18 to 25. Supports also include a meal program, transportation subsidies, child care and counselling. Since May 2015, 35 young people have completed the Y2P program. Now there is a waiting list, and the first group of Y2P alumni started a college program this fall.

Graduates possess the skillsets to enter a college bridging program, become apprentices or seek meaningful employment.

While many students like Hammed need Y2P to succeed, funding for the program is limited. Seneca has approached donors to help expand its impact, and partners like TELUS and the Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation have been generous with their support.

The most recent contributors to Y2P are a brother and sister who have experienced adversity first-hand and understand the importance of helping young people overcome obstacles to education.

Daniel and Emma Michael—both lawyers—grew up in a single-parent household and saw people around them make bad choices, abandon their studies and sacrifice their futures.

Today, Daniel, a criminal lawyer, works with marginalized youth who find themselves in bad situations that could be prevented with the kind of support Y2P offers.

“Once kids reach 17 and don’t have the credits they need, it’s very difficult to take that leap to get a general education diploma,” says Daniel, whose practice is just down the street from Yorkgate. “It’s important that we offer them a helping hand.”

Emma—whose practice includes corporate law, real estate, wills and estates—was inspired by the dedication of her older brother to turn the adversity he faced as a young man into a successful academic and professional career. She has done the same and now wants to help others.

36 RED 2016