EdCan Network News, Engagement, Equity

Desjardins supports Canadian youth as they prepare for a challenge-filled school year

Canada's largest cooperative financial institution invests to help students achieve their academic goals

MONTREAL, September 2, 2020 – Students, teachers, parents and guardians across Canada have had to make major adjustments to their daily lives in the midst of a global pandemic. To support our youth and to help them thrive in their educational journey, Desjardins is proud to announce new investments and programs with Kids Help Phone and the EdCan Network. Additionally, Desjardins is expanding its Desjardins Foundation Prizes to further support our youth.

All told, over $1.4M will be invested to provide much-needed support to students as they prepare to go back to school.

“Supporting education is important to Desjardins. For 120 years, Desjardins has been supporting our communities and working alongside them”, said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “As students, teachers, parents and guardians across Canada prepare for a year unlike any other we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to our youth’s academic success, which is so vital to our nation’s future.”

Working with partners

Kids Help Phone’s Back-to-School Program

As some young people prepare to return to school and others continue to learn virtually, Kids Help Phone and Desjardins are working together to ensure they have the resources and support they need during this transitional time. Kids Help Phone expects to make 3 million connections in 2020 compared to 1.9 million in 2019 and a 200% increase in web sessions.

In addition to providing resources for youth, adults and educators, Desjardins is supporting programs such as:

  • Counsellor in the Classroom: A program to facilitate the discussion of mental health and well-being for those in Grades 6 through 8.
  • Good2Talk: A free, confidential service for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia available 24/7.

“Young people across Canada, and the adults who support them, are experiencing a wide-range of emotions going back-to-school during this global pandemic. Kids Help Phone has been there every day and night throughout these uncertain times” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. “On behalf of the youth in every province and territory, thank you Desjardins, you have helped to ensure our e-mental health services will continue to meet young people wherever they are, for whatever reason they need, however they need to reach us – it could not be more important, now more than ever! No problem is too small and no problem is too big, Kids Help Phone is here for young people 24/7.”

Investing in Technology with the EdCan Network

As many students continue to learn virtually, equitable access to technology is crucial to their academic success. Desjardins and EdCan are working together to help students and schools that may need support in obtaining computers and other tech-based learning tools. A new three-year partnership will support students to help close the gap caused by the lack of access to technology.

“The ongoing pandemic has heightened the challenges of too many students who were already more at risk for marginalization,” says EdCan CEO Max Cooke. “Our network is pleased to collaborate with Desjardins to provide technology to as many of these students as possible so that they can thrive.”

Expanding Desjardins Foundation Prizes

In addition to new partnerships, Desjardins continues to support students and the community through Desjardins Foundation Prizes. These prizes are awarded to schools and non-profit organizations who need financial assistance to carry out projects that help elementary and high school students. Since 2016, over 1,000 projects have been supported with more than 150,000 youth positively impacted. In addition to Ontario and Quebec, the 2020 program has been expanded to also include Alberta and New Brunswick. The application window will be open from October 5th to 26th.

“Desjardins is taking concrete action and working with various partners and the community to stimulate the academic success of our youth. It’s crucial to our socio-economic future and we will continue to help students achieve their goals and dreams during these uncertain times,” said Guy Cormier.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support in English and French to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone and through text in any moment of crisis or need. Through our digital transformation, we envision a future where every person in Canada is able to get the support they need, when they need it most, however they need it. Kids Help Phone gratefully relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, stakeholder partners, corporate partners and governments to fuel and fund our programs. Learn more at www.KidsHelpPhone.ca or @KidsHelpPhone.

About the EdCan Network

The EdCan Network has maintained its 129-year tradition as the only national, nonpartisan, bilingual organization representing 110,000 educators across Canada. Our role as an intermediary connects K-12 education systems across the country by producing and disseminating authoritative and evidence-based, yet accessible content that is trusted by educators, parents, and policymakers alike. EdCan aims to improve education policies that heighten equity and support deeper learning (i.e. a combination of the fundamental knowledge and practical basic skills all students need to succeed), and expanding the reach of educational resources in an effort to bridge the research-implementation gap.