Scholarships Empower Youth in Care to Pursue Educational Aspirations

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a youth 
in advance or on the day of the event, please contact:

Anne Rappé 
Manager, Communications
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

Suset Silva
Communications Coordinator
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

TORONTO—On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, more than 100 youth in care and alumni youth from the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) will receive scholarships valued at more $200,000 from the Hope for Children Foundation.

“These scholarships provide critical financial support to youth in care and alumni youth who are faced with financial pressures when they leave care at 18,” says Mary Bowyer, Executive Director for the Hope for Children Foundation. 

Under provincial legislation, youth must leave their foster or group home at the age of 18, and are forced to deal with the financial burden of independent living such as rent, utility costs, laundry, and groceries, in addition to tuition and books. Children’s Aid Societies are advocating for the province to allow youth to stay in care until the age of 21 to ease the transition for youth. 

“Our youth have to deal with financial challenges that their classmates do not. These combined pressures of independent living and post-secondary studies make it difficult for youth to concentrate on studies, and succeed in pursuing a post-secondary degree or diploma,” says Ms. Bowyer. A report released earlier this year by the Laidlaw Foundation entitled Not So Easy to Navigate, found that youth in care are less likely to pursue post-secondary education as a result of financial pressures. 

For Aisha Aberdeen, former CCAS youth in care being able to access scholarships after leaving care has provided enormous financial relief. “Knowing that I can depend on the Hope for Children Foundation for financial assistance empowers me to pursue post-graduate studies, and for that I am very grateful,” she says. Aisha is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forestry and Caribbean Studies from the University of Toronto later this year. She will be pursuing a Masters in Forestry from the University of Toronto, and hopes to complete a one-year placement in Kenya studying the rainforests. After graduation, Aisha hopes to share her knowledge of forestry and agriculture with children through an educational program in the public school system. 

Since 1986, the Hope for Children Foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships and special achievement grants supporting more than 250 students in their educational pursuits. 

The Hope for Children Foundation supports independent living and youth mentoring programs for adolescents, post-secondary scholarships, emergency grants to assist during times of financial crisis, and enhancement grants to nurture development opportunities.

The Hope for Children Foundation Annual Scholarship Event will be held on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. the Great Hall, Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto.