The Pathways to Education Program

“Community Succession Plan” Grants

1999–2005 (Regent Park Health Center)
2008 (Pathways Canada)

Make a goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and under-achievement in a historically disadvantaged neighbourhood, let the community determine a focus for attention, develop a model that addresses a number of key areas of impact, and then apply it. This, in a very basic sense, is how The Pathways to Education Program has evolved with remarkable results in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood.

The Counselling Foundation of Canada funded the original community succession plan that served as the groundwork for the Regent Park Community Health Network to develop the Pathways to Education program. What has emerged is an award-winning program that targets at-risk and economically disadvantaged students in hopes of helping them reach their potential and pursue their career aspirations.

Recognizing the dropout rate in the neighbourhood was substantially higher than
elsewhere in the province, the program set out to develop supports to students that would help them graduate from high school. For many in this disadvantaged neighbourhood, they had no family members or role models who had gone on to higher education, so it was important to help students visualize success in post-secondary programs in hopes of achieving their career aspirations.



Academic: providing tutoring in five core subjects, four nights a week
Social: group mentoring for grades 9 and 10; specialty and career mentoring for grades 11 and 12
Financial: offering free bus tickets based on attendance and the opportunity to secure a bursary for post-secondary education
Advocacy: Bringing together students, parents, teachers and community agencies



Strong inter-communication between these four facets of the program ensures students are properly assessed and assisted throughout the duration of the program.


The program has delivered great results by dramatically increasing the graduation rate in Regent Park, and The Counselling Foundation of Canada has continued to fund Pathways as it has been replicated in other at-risk communities. One of the great aspects of this program is in how well it can migrate to other communities and benefit a far greater number of people than ever envisioned.