There are many barriers to educational success and the achievement of a high school diploma. Navigating the education system and building relationships with schools can be a significant challenge. A lack of cultural capital can result in less rigorous cultivation of proximal knowledge, weakening the foundations which are so vital to academic achievement. Basic access to education can be a challenge, with insufficient options for alternative provision. Inadequate bridging between mental health and education interventions can lead to absence and learning gaps. These challenges universally impact indigenous groups, newcomers to Canada, visible minorities, students with exceptionalities, and the cultural majority.
In partnership with Pathways to Education, we are launching a Youth Engagement Project designed to identify barriers to high school graduation, determine gaps and opportunities in established community services, and ultimately, develop programming aimed at improving the education outcomes for youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project focuses on engaging with youth and other stakeholders in communities around the province, then building support services based upon the needs and expectations communicated to us. In doing so, we are embracing the philosophy of “nothing about us without us” by using youth participation as the conduit through which we engage with families and schools. Our engagement teams consist of youth interns working under the supervision of senior staff, with the young people driving peer and stakeholder participation, evaluation of results, and making of recommendations.
By listening to every voice and welcoming the participation of those we aim to serve, we will build a brighter future. Together.