ABOUT US

At Degrees for our Youth, we believe that every student deserves the chance to build a better life by pursuing higher education. Today, students from low income families face an uphill battle in having the same opportunities in post secondary education as others. With financial hardships, lack of mentors and a network that can point them to the right resources, these students are disadvantaged from the start.

This is where our organization (and you!) come in. Our award consists of two components: $5,000 to cover first semester of university fees and mentorship with a university graduate to help students stay on track.  

Our vision is to establish a Degrees for our Youth award in every high school located in a low income postal code in Ontario. Join us today and help us help OUR youth!

OUR APPROACH

Local Partnerships

We partner with individual high schools and collaborate with educators to help students apply.

Early Timeline

Award winners are selected and informed before university applications open, incentivizing students to apply for university.

Inclusive Award Criteria

All students in grade 12 who are from low income families attending the high school is eligible to apply.

Complete Donor Transparency

Every dollar that is donated is mapped to an award, bringing full transparency on financials to our donors.

Continued Engagement through Mentorship

Each award winner is matched with a mentor to help them through university and stay engaged with our organization.

OUR TEAM

Headshot of Jerry Mathew

Jerry Mathew

Founder, Product Manger @ Google

I was an immigrant kid who moved to Brampton, lived in a basement with my family and went to school at ND. As most immigrants, my parents went through many financial hardships struggling to find jobs here and setting their life up. Looking back, going to university was probably the biggest decision I took – and I relied purely on the kindness of strangers through grants and scholarships to fund my university education. I started Degrees for our Youth because I firmly believe that when a child from a low income family gets a chance to pursue higher studies, it’s an opportunity to change their life, their families life and sometimes even their community. So let’s make an impact together and help get degrees for OUR youth.

Headshot of Ann Armstrong

Ann Armstrong

University of Toronto Professor, Facilitator, Writer, Mentor

I’m delighted to support Degrees for our Youth as I see every day in my classes how the combination of education and mentorship gives hope and power to students! Degrees for our Youth opens many doors!

Headshot of Kwasi Agyemang

Kwasi Agyemang

High School Educator, St. Roch High School

I have worked as a high school educator in Brampton for around 15 years now and have seen students from many situations. There’s two major disadvantages students from low income families face – 1. They do not have mentors to work with them and point them to the right resources required for a university education 2. They are intimidated by university expenses and this prevents them from pursuing quality education post high school. A lot of these students are struggling to meet their families day to day expenses and do not think about university till later. I joined Degrees for our Youth to guide the organization to address the needs of the students who need help the most and make an impact in my community.

Headshot of Olivia Di Fiore

Olivia Di Fiore

 Rotman Commerce BCom ’21, Head of Marketing & Social Media

As a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, I saw first-hand how amazing a mentor would’ve been in my first year of university. Especially when students are navigating a new education experience, possibly in a new city, and trying to balance a job and studies — having someone that can help guide you can be beyond comforting. I was privileged enough to attend one of my top university choices, and I joined Degrees for our Youth to help and make sure students across Ontario also have this opportunity. 

Headshot of Josh Lokko

Josh Lokko

JD/MBA, Legal Advisor

I joined Degrees for Our Youth because I believe that the opportunity to pursue a university education is an integral inflection point in the transition from youth to adulthood, and that every youth deserves the chance to excel. The Degrees for Our Youth model gives every recipient more than just a financial boost – with access to mentorship and community, our students start their academic journey with the tools to become the example that their friends and family can and will follow. 

Our vision is to establish a degrees for our youth award in every low income tax bracket in Canada.

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