Pathways Programming Across the Country in 2021
Helping Students Develop Skills in Technology and Leadership
Across the country, Pathways Program locations engage youth in tech-based programming. These program activities foster curiosity and creativity and equip students with the practical skills needed to support entering the job market.
In partnership with Kids Code Jeunesse, the Code Club Mentorship Program at Pathways Ottawa is designed to provide youth with coding and leadership skills and opportunities to give back to their community in a meaningful way. Youth are trained in coding and facilitation skills before being placed with partner agencies to help facilitate coding workshops for younger students. Students who participated in the workshop expressed feeling more confident in their coding skills and their ability to facilitate workshops.
Bonding Through Outdoor Activities
To support the development of healthy habits and resiliency in youth, Pathways Program locations across the country deliver programming designed to nourish students’ physical and mental well-being.
During the summertime, students at Pathways Laval went to an outdoor camp, Camp Plein Air Lanaudia, located in Saint-Côme, Quebec. The purpose of this activity was to encourage students to socialize with one another while participating in fun summer activities. They had the opportunity to join in paddleboarding, kayaking, archery, hiking, singing songs, and roasting marshmallows by the fire. For some students, it was their first time going camping, making it both an exciting and practical learning experience.
Celebrating Diverse Gender Identities
Across the country, Pathways Program locations create inclusive spaces for young people of all backgrounds and identities, providing them with resources and opportunities to express their authentic selves and support one another through allyship.
At Pathways Gatineau, students have a safe and welcoming support system to engage in conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation. Program staff identified an interest among youth to have an intentional space to ask related questions. Through a partnership with Jeunesse Idem, they organized two workshops to provide information about the LGBTQ2+ community and demystify gender and sexual diversity concepts. Surrounded by supportive adults and peers, the discussions also provided some students—who had been struggling to find a safe forum—with the tools and freedom to express their identities.
Supporting Student Success After High School Graduation
Pathways Program locations help students develop the necessary skills to prepare and explore employment opportunities. Across the country, Pathways students participate in programming to learn about the tools and resources that are available to support their success.
Pathways students in Spryfield took part in career-readiness workshops, where program staff guided them on building their resumes and cover letters. Youth participating in the workshops also learned about hard and soft skills that employers look for and how to prepare for interviews. The opportunity for students to access the knowledge, training, and skills they need to succeed in Canada’s competitive job market helps them prepare for their future after high school graduation.
Maintaining Relationships with Students Through Virtual Programming
The onset of the pandemic forced many program locations across the country to adapt their existing approach and explore new methods of delivering core supports to ensure students continued to develop the necessary skills to succeed in high school.
To recreate the in-person experience of receiving services and support, staff at Pathways Scarborough Village organized a Cyber Lounge hosted on Zoom. It’s a safe, virtual office space for students to access—whether they need support with academic work, want to connect with staff or other peers in the program or engage students with other activities such as post-secondary planning. Breakout rooms were also established for volunteer recruitment and meetings with families and staff, quickly becoming the new norm. Having access to the Cyber Lounge created opportunities for students to stay connected to the program and each other while receiving critical supports virtually during the lockdown.
Building Future Leaders and Stronger Communities
When it comes to youth civic engagement, Pathways Program locations are committed to helping young people foster leadership skills to create positive social impact. Across the country, students in the program are participating in volunteer activities, deepening their connection to the community, and working towards building stronger futures.
At Pathways Hamilton, youth took part in the Gratitude Baking and Cooking activity, where they were encouraged to think about those around them who made a difference in their lives and how they can give back. Students participated in cooking lessons taught by program staff and spearheaded an initiative to provide holiday meals for seniors in community support programs, including the food preparation and packaging of the dinners. This activity fostered community pride as students worked together to support people in their community while developing cooking skills and gaining volunteer experience.
Creating Belonging Through Cultural Programming
Giving Indigenous students access to culturally affirming and empowering programming reflective of their history, cultures, and languages can provide a vital sense of belonging in educational spaces. Through honourable and long-term community partnerships, Pathways Program staff are creating opportunities for Indigenous youth to strengthen their sense of belonging and identity, which can positively impact their mental health.
Staff at Pathways Saskatoon organized programming to provide students with experiences and teachings centered around Indigenous ceremonies. Staff harvested three kinds of sage with the students and shared the teachings accompanying the sage. This allowed students to practice smudging and learn about Indigenous practices, supporting young people’s sense of belonging.