Creating Hope for a Brighter Future

Creating Hope for a Brighter Educational Future

The Systemic Change Team has launched an RESP (Registered Educations Saving Plan) Project with the goal of supporting the children in their pursuit of post –secondary education (full time or part time studies in: apprenticeship programs, colleges, trade schools, universities)

Education is one of the most critical and important elements in breaking out of the cycle of poverty. The statistics show that the ‘mere existence of educational savings makes a child 50 percent more likely to pursue post--‐ secondary education’ and this is such a powerful and hopeful statistic.

The first step in the project is to educate the SSVP volunteers on the Canada Learning Bond and Canada Educations Savings Grant programs so they can inform and support the parents in accessing this funding for their children. The parent must apply for a Social Insurance Number for the child and open up an RESP account. Some parents may find government and financial programs intimidating, so encouragement by informed SSVP volunteers is critical to empower them to take the necessary action.

The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) offers up to $ 2,000 in free education money provided by the government of Canada for children born after January 1, 2004 into families who receive the National Child Supplement (net income of $43,561 or less). Upon registering, children receive $ 500 and an additional $ 100 annually until they reach 15 years of age and the funds are retroactive. No parental contribution is required!

Only 1 in 4 children who are eligible for the Canada Learning Bond have received it. Through our SSVP network, we can work together to change this statistic.

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) offers a matching grant for contributions into RESP and depending on income levels, can reach up to a 40% grant.

Through the joint sponsorship of the Ontario Regional Council (ONRC) and the Halton Particular Council (HPC), we have funding available to provide children in our Particular Council with a $50 contribution into an opened RESP.

A parishioner in one of the SSVP conferences has been so inspired by the project that they are providing an additional $ 100 monthly contribution to their local conference’s project and hope other parishioners will be similarly inspired to help.

Given the persistent gap in post--‐secondary pursuit in students from higher and lower--‐income families, these Savings are more than dollars – they can be a catalyst. Studies show that once the RESP account is open, it tends to attract additional contributions even though they are not required. As the savings grow, so does a student’s confidence to apply to post--‐secondary. Application and acceptance opens the door to scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial aid. Finally, higher education improves employability, earnings and financial stability for a lifetime.

Here is a letter received by a client expressing her gratitude for the support for her 6 year old son (all names have been changed to retain confidentiality)

Through John’s gentle yet persuasive guidance, I was encouraged to open an RESP for Michael. I am very grateful for this. As Michael is as well. He's already planning a career as an engineer for VIA Rail =) He's also planning my retirement "on board the lunch coach, so I can still make his lunch". John also took the time to call and check the status on said account. During his phone calls he was always full of kind encouraging words.

She expresses her gratitude for the impact this has made on her family.

For more information on the RESP Project, please contact Linda Alexander at seedsofhope@ssvp.ca