Pathways to Education looks to the future

The non-profit highlights the barriers students from low-income communities face (and the impact that has on society).

Pathways to Education

Non-profit Pathways to Education hopes to raise awareness of the barriers faced by high school students in low-income communities with the launch of its first national awareness campaign, which aims to show that their challenges could also have an impact on the rest of society.

In a video that went live on Sept. 2, a high school student explains the many things the next generation is going to accomplish, from solving complex social issues to putting a stop to global warming. “But first,” she says, “we’ve got to finish high school.”

The “Building Pathways” campaign, created by Camp Jefferson and supported by Cossette Media, spans television, cinema, social and OOH. A media relations push led by The Colony Project is focused on educating people about the cause, while the outdoor component takes a textbook-style approach to relaying the implications of not finishing high school both for students, as well as society more broadly.

101233-1_PATHWAYS_SSP_V3_E.indd“Our goal is to communicate the disparity that exists in high school dropout rates across Canada and to make people aware of the barriers that exist for students living in low-income communities across the country,” says Colleen Ryan, director of marketing and communications at Pathways to Education Canada. “We landed on highlighting the socio-economic impacts of not graduating from high school and what it means for the country as a whole, as well as the unlimited potential for greatness that exists within all young people.”

It’s the first time the charity has run a national campaign. Founded in 2001, the organization provides students from low-income communities – where the dropout rates can be between 30% to 50%, according to Ryan – with the resources and network supports needed to graduate high school.

Pathways to Education currently serves 20 communities across eight provinces, where it claims to have helped improve graduation rates by an average of 85%. But with more than 300,000 young people currently at risk of dropping out of high school, Ryan says the organizations hopes the campaign will drive awareness of the issue, as well as donations to help support its work.

The campaign directs Canadians to a website created by Send and Receive where they can learn, donate and volunteer to the cause. Pathways to Education has also created a “High School Dropout Disparity” quiz.