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AIM Program

Affirming, Inspiring & Mentoring: Supporting Black Students’ Post-Secondary Ambitions

About the Program

This program is focused on Access to Post-Secondary Education initiatives which has a number of components:

  • See Yourself Here – Day at York Program
  • Transitioning & Navigating Year 1
  • Co-op Credit Program
  • Summer Program

Working with school board partners these two projects engage Black students in university spaces to inspire them to explore their interests, affirm their aspirations to pursue post-secondary education (“PSE”) and provide connection to mentorship opportunities in areas of interest. We are pleased to share preliminary results with Walmart Canada on these two programs, thanks to your support. In summer 2023, we will also offer a co-op credit program to Black high school students as an expanded part of our Day at York programming. We have also established a partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University to provide an aligned summer program which is designed to increase social media literacy for Black students and are looking forward to reporting to Walmart Canada on the results achieved with both of these additional modules.

Overarching Objectives

With the support of Walmart Canada, we seek to work with Black students – especially first-generation students – considering their complex, dynamic, nuanced and multifaceted characteristics, to develop and facilitate a shared, relevant and responsive ecosystem which enables them to, with knowledge, think of, and when time comes, transition into university or engage in other post-high school activities. Additionally, the project seeks to be responsive to the needs of Black students and provide the additional supports required to navigate university once they “arrive” through to their graduation and beyond.

  1. Affirm and support Black students: we provide a framework to facilitate Black students’ stories, hear from others, and better understand the ins and outs of university processes. By sharing their stories and hearing those of others; by seeing others like them in post-secondary institutions, and by being able to continuously learn how university works, our facilitation validates Black students’ aspirations and presence in the institution.
  2. We provide spaces that are affirming of Black student, experiences, realities and being.
  3. We mentor, model, and expose students to the possibilities that could be explored in PSE and beyond. We connect Black students to valuable supports and people who will encourage their aspirations.
  4. We create opportunities for participants to acquire valuable and needed skills upon which to build their capacities to develop a sense of belonging; explore their PSE ambitions knowing what is needed to apply; and to build and strengthen their social, cultural and community capital which will enable them to realize expected successes in their university careers.
  5. We offer learning, networking, and community-building opportunities through weekly/biweekly meetups for 1st year students. This would be more than just another program obligation or weekly escape from the challenges students face in university, but a welcomed “different” learning opportunity.
  6. Build social capital: we enable Year 1 participants to get to know, help, support and look out for each other.