Hammed Babatunde arrived in Canada as a refugee from Nigeria. With no family or connections, his first stop was a mosque, followed by a shelter.
While many students like Hammed need Youth to Postsecondary to succeed, funding for the program is limited. Seneca has approached donors to help expand its impact, and partners like Telus and the Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation have been generous with their support.
The most recent contributors to Y2P are a brother and sister who have experienced adversity first hand and understand the importance of helping young people overcome obstacles to education.
Daniel and Emma Michael—both lawyers—grew up in a single parent household and saw many friends make the wrong choices, abandon their studies and sacrifice their futures. Today Daniel, a criminal lawyer, works with marginalized youth who find themselves in bad situations that could be prevented with the kind of support Y2P offers.
“Once kids reach 17 and don’t have the credits they need, it’s very difficult to take that leap to get a general education diploma,” says Daniel, whose practice is just down the street from Yorkgate. “It’s important that we offer them a helping hand.”
Emma—who practices real estate, family and corporate law—was inspired by the dedication of her older brother to turn the adversity he faced as a young man into a successful academic and professional career. She has done the same for herself and now wants to help others.
“To help people in all walks of life achieve a postsecondary education is valuable to Canadian society,” says Emma. “I got support from my family and teachers. I feel it’s my obligation to help people in the same circumstances as me but do not have the same support.”
Thanks to donors like Daniel and Emma, Y2P will continue to grow and serve more at-risk youth looking to build brighter futures for themselves and their families. They will also receive the support needed to cover living costs and develop a game plan for the future.
“It’s inspiring to see people who have the courage to get up every day and aspire to be better,” says Emma. “It also helps the community as a whole. For me, that’s the ultimate motivation.”