With the Rotary Facilitator of Alumni Relations (FAR) Project, Kingston high school graduates of the Pathways to Education program will continue to be supported as they make decisions and take action related to any or all of post secondary education, training, and finding meaningful employment.
The project builds on the success of the Pathways to Education program located in an economically disadvantaged neighbourhood in North Kingston. Pathways works in communities across Canada to improve outcomes for high school students in low-income areas, offering tutoring, group and career mentoring, financial incentives, and advocacy support to enrolled students. Almost half of Kingston Pathways alumni are the first in their family to move on to post secondary education. While many of these alumni want to continue their education at the post secondary level, all want their efforts to lead to meaningful employment.

Research by Pathways in Kingston found that a large majority of the alumni in the first graduating cohort in Kingston in 2014 wanted to continue their education at the postsecondary level; however, follow up indicated that most of those who did register had dropped out early on. In response, Pathways Kingston secured temporary funding for a counsellor (FAR) for 1 day per week, to identify and help alumni address difficulties. The intervention increased post-secondary retention rate to Ontario standards or higher. Rotary funding ensures the continuation of this effort for 3 years and increases the available time of the FAR to 3 days a week.

Already a complicated process including potential multiple applications processes, grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships, course selection, school policies, transportation, and part time work, or finding apprenticeship programs or good employment contacts, transition to a post secondary environment can be extremely difficult in the face of parental and community inexperience or indifference. Staying the course often requires support, whether family or community. The Rotary Facilitator of Alumni Relations (FAR) will provide or coordinate services for P2E alumni.

The immediate project activities and goals include the provision of mentoring, support, assistance for P2E alumni who are:
  1. Proceeding to and attending post secondary institutions
  2. Proceeding to full time employment — This is likely to involve referral to Kingston Employment Youth Service (KEYS) for career counselling and help in finding employment or suitable apprenticeship programs.
  3. Deferring a post secondary education vs. full time-time employment decision until personally appropriate — This will involve mentorship by formally trained Rotarians. KEYS provides the mentorship training to assure quality, and consistency, and will continue support to mentors.
  4. Seeking full time employment subsequent to graduation from a post secondary institution —This too may involve referral to other helping agencies (KEYS) to develop job search skills or identify employment opportunities.
The goal too is to reengage alumni in the P2E program as mentors to students at the high
school level.