The St. James Town Youth Community Awards Program (SJTYCA) was developed on two core beliefs. First, we believe it is important to support all youth in their pursuit of a post-secondary education, regardless of their financial situation. Second, we value the importance of community involvement of youth in our communities. This Awards Program will support students who will be attending a post-secondary institution, who are both community leaders and in need of financial support.
The SJTYCA is exclusive to youth between the ages of 14-29, who reside in the St. James Town community. St. James Town is home to a large low-income population, and as a result, many students point out that financial stress is a large burden in their pursuit of post-secondary education. According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Students, nearly 75% of students who do not pursue education beyond high school in Ontario list financial barriers as a determining factor. Additionally, while the government is able to provide a variety of options for support such as OSAP, not all students are comfortable taking on student debt.
Additionally, we believe in the importance of youth serving their communities to address issues they feel are important while developing valuable skills for both themselves and other peers. This award will recognize any community-based involvement that have made important differences in neighbourhoods across the city.
The monetary value of the award will vary from year to year, depending on the funding we are able to secure annually. The mentorship component of this program will partner new students with undergraduates already in university or college. Providing each student with a mentor will ensure that they have someone to turn to when they face any difficulties, be it academic or personal. Mentors themselves will also be able to use this opportunity to serve as role models and support a peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge and resources.