On July 15, Catholic Social Services (CSS) hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate nine youth-in-care who earned their high school diplomas, thanks to a partnership with Edmonton Catholic Schools Alternative Education (ECSD).
For many youth in CSS programs, traditional school models have been unable to meet their needs. As a result, many have struggled to obtain their high school diplomas.
When CEO Dr. Troy Davies joined CSS in 2018, he identified these barriers and worked with Alternative Education to develop programming which empowers youth-in-care to earn credits through experiential and online learning.
A certified ECSD teacher conducts weekly visits to three CSS programs for youth involved in high risk activities, working with them to facilitate learning and address challenges as they arise. The flexibility in this arrangement reduces further barriers to their educational success and builds relationships that are critical to re-engagement.
Although commencement looked different for all students this year, it was particularly important to Children, Family, and Community Service staff to find a safe way to celebrate the nine graduate’s incredible achievements. Dressed in cap and gown (and mask!) graduates walked the “stage” in Borden Park and safely received their diplomas among peers, family, and friends.
The program has seen growing success over two years thanks to the dedicated efforts of CSS and ECSD staff, and above all, the students’ steadfast commitment to achieving their goals.