The days are getting shorter, temperatures are about to take a dip, and the onslaught of back to school sales has begun: it’s the end of summer.
As the kids lace up their new shoes and head to class, it’s important to remember that not every youth, family, neighbourhood, or town has access to the highest level of education available.
That’s where charities help. They work to fill the gaps between the educational needs of the next generation and the teachers, facilities and curriculum that governments are able to provide.
Many youth education charities focus on eliminating inequality in levels of education for groups that have traditionally suffered under the status quo: girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and Indigenous people, to name a couple.
Your donations to youth education charities help our community’s children take charge of their futures. Plus, better education for everyone benefits society as a whole.
Here are our four favourite reasons to support youth education charities.
1. Education fights inequality
One effective way to fight inequality and alleviate poverty is through educational programs.
A Harvard University study found that using statistics to equalize levels of education eliminated a host of social gaps: wages, incarceration rates, test scores, unemployment levels, and more.
Aboriginal students in Canada are statistically more likely to suffer from these inequalities. So are women and people of colour. Charities like Eagles of Tomorrow help introduce math to Indigenous students who previously may not have had a nurturing experience with numbers.
2. Education boosts the economy
Today, our economy is largely driven by experts in STEM disciplines. Businesses and governments thrive on new technologies that increase productivity and provide valuable jobs.
Unfortunately, STEM fields are missing out on a huge number of potential workers, business owners and innovators. That’s because only about half as many female students pursue those areas of study compared to male students.
In many cases, girls have not been pushed toward STEM, even though brave women throughout history have proven to be experts at the tops of their disciplines.
Charities recognize that girls may need encouragement to pursue education in areas that our culture has tried to prevent them from entering. The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology offers the incredible ms infinity program, which introduces young women to positive role models and seeks to break down the barriers to STEM education. Let’s Talk Science, headed by Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, has a similar goal—and works to achieve it by making science fun and accessible to K-12 youth.
3. Education encourages innovation
Whether it’s curing diseases or sending astronauts into space, new ideas propel our society forward. As technology gets more complex, a solid educational foundation becomes even more important. The earlier kids get started, the better chance they have of becoming the next Louis Pasteur.
While schools are doing their best to help kids develop the tools to build new ideas, some kids don’t have access to crucial resources like computers and the Internet. Charities are doing their level best to fill the gap.
The BC Technology for Learning Society provides refurbished computers to schools, Aboriginal communities, public libraries and not-for-profits through their Computers for Schools program. And Science World offers an amazing array of outreach programs aimed at encouraging kids to express their ideas.
Coming up with new ideas is only half the battle. Showcasing those ideas is equally important. That’s where the Science Fair Foundation comes in. They focus on funding and supporting youth science fairs so brilliant kids have somewhere to show off.
4. Education protects the environment
Past generations have dropped the ball when it comes to stewardship of our natural world.
Many efforts to fix problems in the environment depend on policy, and the will to enact that policy comes from the people. It’s important that youth get a head start on environmental education before the wellbeing of the planet is placed in their hands.
The Sierra Club offers a slate of programs that educates kids on topics like climate change, conservation, and endangered species. And Environmental Defence hosts Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), which teaches youth journalists to report on environmental issues.
Charities like these are ensuring that the next generation has all the tools they need to protect the future of the planet.
If you want to be a part of a big event that supports youth education charities, this year’s TechPong is happening on October 19 at Science World in Vancouver. All proceeds go to STEM and other education charities.
It’s a night of feverish ping-pong competition, food, drinks, fun, and fundraising. Come on out and show your support, or get together with your coworkers and start a team.