Nathanael Andrew, Community Services and Child Studies Foundations program and Leon Andrew, General Arts and Science – Business Preparation program were featured in the YouTube video My Path to a Better Future. The video was produced by the York Durham Crown Ward Education Championship Team, and is intended to inspire youth in care to achieve their educational goals. The two Durham College students are brothers and although they have not always lived together, they are extremely close and their bond is undeniable.
There are approximately 8, 000 youth in foster care, also known as crown wards, in Ontario and about 450 of them reside in Durham Region; and according to the Toronto Star, it is said that barely 40 per cent of them will graduate high school and continue on to a post-secondary education. The Durham/York Crown Ward Education Championship Team (CWECT), a provincial initiative developed to support students with crown ward status in successful high school completion and post-secondary education, created a YouTube video that showcases Durham College (DC) and York students who were in care growing up and are now on their ‘path to a better future.’
Produced through the Durham/York CWECT, the students featured in My Path to a Better Future are full of life, independent, proud of their hard work and appreciative of all the people who have helped them along the way. The video is aimed at inspiring youth in care and providing advice to peers who are about to move on to post-secondary education.
“When I was in high school, my worker was the one that introduced me to the word ‘college.’ I didn’t even know what it was,” Nathanael said. “I took my worker’s advice, applied to college and my foster dad was so proud when I got accepted. Now, I want to help kids by doing what she did for me.”
Filmed collaboratively at DC and York University, the video features crown wards from both schools, who speak about their aspirations growing up, high school experiences and how their mentors and family at the Children’s Aid Society help prepare them for post-secondary education.
The Durham/York CWET has representatives from Durham Catholic District School board, Durham Children’s Aid Society, Durham College, Durham District School Board, Seneca College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, York Catholic District School Board, York Region Children’s Aid Society, York Region District School Board, and York University.
At Durham College, students with crown wardship status are considered First Generation students and are eligible for the supports offered through the first generation student co-ordinator.