Centennial helps "at-risk" youth - Macleans.ca

Centennial helps “at-risk” youth

Free six-week courses offered to 100 Scarborough students

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After studying at Scarborough’s Centennial College free of charge for six weeks, 100 “at-risk” youth from the area yesterday received certificates as part of the school’s Helping Youth Pursue Education (HYPE) program.

The college approached community-service agencies in Malvern, Kingston-Galloway and Scarborough Village and identified youth aged 13-29 who they thought would fit well in HYPE. Tuition was free, and books, meals and transportation were all covered by Centennial.

The Youth Challenge Fund provided much of HYPE’s funding, donating $450,000 over three years. The YCF is a provincial initiative, the board of which is chaired by former Toronto Argonaut Mike “Pinball” Clemons. HYPE also received funding from Ontario’s First Generation student funding and other private donors.

Now in its fifth year of operation, HYPE offered programs in automobile repair, food service, child studies, office administration, business entrepreneurship and physical education.

Clemons was at the students’ graduation yesterday, where valedictorian Aneesah Mohamed addressed the audience. The Star reported that Mohamed, a Grade-10 dropout and single mother of two young children, will study community and justice services full-time at Centennial in the fall. She hopes to become a juvenile probation officer.

Centennial is providing 30 program participants a $2,500 bursary when they enrol at the college in the fall.

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