In 2007, a group of young Torontonians, concerned about their younger peers and the challenges they faced in a time of rapid societal change, decided to make a difference. They turned their concern into action, creating Wordswell Association for Community Learning, a non-profit focused on promoting personal growth and community wellbeing among youth living in North York, Ontario.
Wordswell’s inaugural program – called Pebbles to Pearls - was designed to engage young people between the ages of eleven and fifteen and help them navigate the challenges of early adolescence. Wordswell built on the success of this program with a focus on understanding and supporting students in transition from middle school to high school, and on to post-secondary education. In 2020 they launched the Wellspring program to meet this need.
Wellspring is an early intervention program that provides mentoring and academic enrichment, while ensuring there is parental involvement and that service to others is at the centre of the program. Wellspring participants meet in groups at least once a week and mirror a student’s journey from middle school through high school and on to postsecondary education.
CST Foundation partnered with Wordswell to expand their reach and impact. Wordswell’s approach emphasizes the value of youth, healthy communities, the importance of knowledge, and empowering participants to contribute to positive change in their community. Finding the right partners, those who understand and share their principles, was a key factor in delivering successful programs with maximum impact.
With the Foundation’s partnership, Wordswell has hired additional staff enabling them to expand the Wellspring Program to welcome twenty more youth. The Wordswell program reaches many newcomers and immigrants who value education and appreciate the support this program provides. As one participant confirms, the Wellspring program continues to make a difference in the lives of young people:
“The Wellspring math program has helped strengthen my understanding of different concepts of math. I really enjoy attending this program as it helps me see math in a new way. I have become more confident in my skills and have met some new friends along the way.”
— Arichanan, Wellspring student
The team at CST Foundation looks forward to providing updates on Wordswell’s programs and the impact we are making with our community partners.
Founded in 1960, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families better access post-secondary education. Through philanthropy, discovery, advocacy and by sponsoring the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans to help families save for post-secondary education, CST continues to deliver on its mission. The Foundation rewards hard working and community minded Canadian students through scholarships, bursaries and awards programs. CST has helped over 800,000 students achieve their post-secondary dreams.