Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life contribute $100,000 to Toujours ensemble to strengthen Pathways to Education program in Quebec

As National Development Sponsor, companies helping Pathways build a Graduation Nation

MONTREAL, Nov. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - Pathways to Education Canada (Pathways) and Toujours ensemble today announced a $100,000 contribution from Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life to further their proven model for reducing high school dropout rates in low-income communities in Quebec.

The contribution funds construction and operating expenses of a new building in Verdun, Quebec for Toujours ensemble, Pathways' partner organization in the region. The new space, which opened this fall, serves the growing number of students enrolled in the Pathways program in Verdun.

"In Quebec, one in four students leaves high school without a diploma. In Verdun, where poverty levels are particularly high, this rate is closer to one in two students," said Marc Edwards, Chairman of the Board, Toujours ensemble. "This support means we can continue to help Verdun's youth overcome the barriers to education and keep them on track for graduation."

This new support adds to the commitment of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life as Pathways' National Development Sponsor. In 2012 the companies made a multi-year $500,000 pledge through their national corporate citizenship program for the development of Pathways 'U,' a learning model that fosters excellence and innovation in program delivery.

"Pathways 'U' is an important component of our commitment to expanding and sharing knowledge in order to serve the needs of more youth across the country," said David Hughes, President and CEO of Pathways to Education Canada. "With the support of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, we can continue to invest in, deliver and share the excellence and innovation for which the organization has become known."

Pathways 'U' consists of three core components - communities of practice, mentorship/coaching and formal course work for program leaders - with an aim to enrich the knowledge of front-line staff, as well as to transfer knowledge across the organization and externally.

"First in Toronto and now in more Canadian centres, the Pathways learning model is getting results," said Jan Belanger, Assistant Vice-President, Community Affairs, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. "As the program expands, success depends on Pathways having essential tools and a strong infrastructure. We are pleased to support their operational development across Canada, and their progress in Quebec. Supporting the combined efforts of Pathways and Toujours ensemble demonstrates our commitment to building stronger communities where we live and work."

Pathways to Education Canada and Toujours ensemble have long been dedicated to increasing student retention and high school graduation rates. With the help of generous donations, Pathways and Toujours ensemble can continue to transform the lives of youth and build stronger communities.

About Pathways to Education Canada - www.pathwaystoeducation.ca
Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education or training. Pathways addresses systemic barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based program proven to lower dropout rates. Founded in 2001, Pathways operates in twelve communities across Canada, with programs in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

About Toujours ensemble - http://www.toujoursensemble.org/site/
Founded in 1979 and established in Verdun since 1986, Toujours ensemble is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support young people with academic, family or social difficulties by offering them educational and recreational activities that contribute to their development. Every year, Toujours ensemble welcomes over 300 young people to participate in activities. Toujours ensemble intervenes in three areas: education, recreation and the fight against poverty. For example, in the past ten years, Toujours ensemble has served more than 150,000 meals to children from two elementary schools in Verdun.

About Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life - www.greatwestlife.com
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life offer a broad portfolio of financial and benefit plan solutions, and serve the financial security needs of more than 12 million people across Canada. As an Imagine Caring Company, the companies contribute a minimum of 1% of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community organizations each year.

SOURCE Pathways to Education Canada



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