Along with providing safe, secure, and affordable storage units in Scarborough, Storwell is also devoted to helping out the local community through various charitable causes and social initiatives. For over a decade, Storwell has been running the Foster Children Bursary Program for students who were part of the foster care system to help them attend post-secondary school.
A study done in 2017 by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth found that over the last four decades, poor academic outcomes have been characteristic of former youth in care from Canada, the United States, and Britain. Youth in care struggle to complete high school with 56% of Ontario Crown Wards dropping out of high school.
The lack of focus on education can be attributed to several factors. A major factor that contributes to poor educational performance is a lack of stability at home. Every time a youth moves, they lose four to six months of academic progress and then struggle to make up the loss over time. The vast majority of former foster youth wish to attend university, yet fewer qualified former foster youth pursue post-secondary education compared to their peers. When university or post-secondary education is pursued, significantly fewer former foster youth finish their studies compared to same-age peers. This lack of advanced education can have a substantial impact on a former foster youth’s employment opportunities moving forward. The difference in earnings over a lifetime is over a million dollars between a university graduate and someone who did not complete high school.
Another hurdle that foster children must overcome in their pursuit of post-secondary education is the stigma associated with growing up in the foster care system, which stops many students from reaching out and asking for the assistance that they require. Hopefully, as more initiatives like the Storwell Foster Children Bursary become available and education about foster care becomes more widespread, this stigma will begin to dissipate and foster children and youth in care will be able to receive the attention and support that they deserve.
The aim of the Storwell Foster Children Bursary Program is to provide foster children and youth in care with resources and opportunities that might be otherwise unavailable to them. With the proper tools, these students can work towards building a better life for themselves through the pursuit of higher education.
Storwell offers an annual bursary of $2,000 to help foster children attend post-secondary schools and to offer a hand up as they make their way forward in life. Eligibility requirements and access to the application form can be found at: https://www.storwell.com/bursary-application