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Spanning the Gaps students celebrate TD’s $1-million gift to the program with Andrea C. Barrack (second from right) and Chang School Dean Marie Bountrogianni (centre).
For more than ten years, Ryerson University’s Spanning the Gaps program — offered through the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education — has provided mentoring, courses, tutoring and career guidance to help adult learners from different educational backgrounds transition to post-secondary programs. More than 1,580 adults have found meaningful careers and transformed their lives thanks to the program.
Spanning the Gaps recently received a $1-million donation from the TD Bank Group to create the TD Road to Success Awards. The gift creates a clear pathway for adult learners from precarious work to promising career opportunities. On March 18, Ryerson celebrated TD’s generous support at a reception at the G. Raymond Chang School for Continuing Education.
TD’s donation will provide entering student and program support for Spanning the Gaps. It will also provide ongoing support for graduates of the program who continue their education at Ryerson. In this way, TD Road to Success Awards further Ryerson’s PACE initiative (President’s Awards to Champion Excellence), which improves access to higher education for students from underrepresented groups.
Spanning the Gaps graduates like Ashley Dias credit the program with changing their lives. At age 27 she knew she wanted a post-secondary education but didn’t know where to start. “Without Spanning I would still be in a retail store unhappy and accepting my lot in life instead of going out and trying to make myself better. I’m now trying something that was terrifying 10 years ago! Because of Spanning I got the support and affirmation that I matter and I belong here.” She’s now in her first-year of the Geographic Analysis undergraduate program at Ryerson.
“Access to education is the engine that powers opportunity and change,” said Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson’s president and vice-chancellor. “The TD Road to Success Awards program will help adult learners experiencing inter-generational poverty and social exclusion gain the skills and competencies they need for the jobs of tomorrow. We are very grateful to TD for this leadership.”
“At TD, we believe that being able to participate in the economy at all levels, from employment to accessing financial services is critical to feeling confident about your future,” said Andrea C. Barrack, global head, sustainability and corporate citizenship, TD Bank Group.