As we journey alongside youth to help them achieve healthy and happy independence, a common step in the process is working with them to achieve their education goals. These can be things like finishing high school, getting an undergraduate degree, completing specific trades or apprenticeship programs, or other similar goals. Our Social Workers work with these young people in a variety of different areas of their lives (budgeting, mental health, employment, application processes etc.) to help them get set up for success.
Education in a time of pandemic
Of course, it is important to acknowledge the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on young people trying to achieve their education goals. One major challenge has come in the form of job instability and the effect that has had for students trying to pay for tuition. Many of the youth at Covenant House Vancouver who have jobs do shift work or work in industries where the pandemic has resulted in reduced shift availability, job loss, or outright store closures; leaving these students out of work and unable to pay for schooling.
Another major challenge for these youth comes in the form of the switch to online learning. Our Social Workers have needed to support youth in feeling comfortable and confident in navigating online classrooms, digital assignments, and the technical stresses and annoyances that are unavoidable online. Along with that comes the added challenge of dealing with unstructured online learning environments. There’s a reason why “Structure” is one of Covenant House Vancouver’s guiding principles. Having a structured plan can often keep you on track and motivated. But with university and college courses more and more switching to pre-recorded lectures or self-guided course progression, it becomes difficult for some students to stay on track due to lack of structured time. So, of course, our Social Workers are doing their best to accompany youth through these challenges.
Community partnerships for a future of hope
With deep gratitude, we’re happy to acknowledge that we’re not alone in supporting youth to achieve their education goals. Our on-going monthly donors provide a sustainable and steady source of funding to allow us to keep our day-to-day programs running. We also have some donors that provide gift-in-kind support, things like laptops, study supplies, and funds for transportation to and from school.
Recently, we’ve started a scholarship program with Sprott Shaw College that allows for recommended candidates at Covenant House Vancouver to enroll in any of their one- or two-year career-oriented programs with all tuition fees covered. We also have a generous long-time supporter, the SpencerCreo Foundation, that provides scholarships to CHV youth that allow them to attend a school and program of their choice. Our donors help these young people get a great start to a brighter future without the added worry of taking on student loans from the outset.