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HYPE summer program provides an inspiring learning experience

Picture of Centennial College HYPE graduates at the 2015 HYPE Graduation Ceremony.

More than 120 young people celebrated their achievement at a special graduation ceremony on August 12 after spending their summer participating in Centennial College's HYPE program – Helping Youth Pursue Education – a tuition-free learning experience that can open doors to higher education and rewarding careers. 

Over the past six weeks the students, aged 17 to 29, participated in seven career-oriented courses in business fundamentals, human development, automotive technology, esthetics, digital media, introduction to computers, and baking & entrepreneurship. 

“Our program promotes education attainment by reducing barriers to participation for youth living in under-served Toronto neighbourhoods primarily in the east end of the city,” said Anthony Bertin, manager of Centennial’s Community Outreach Office. “More than half of the youth participating in HYPE come to it through recommendations from past participants, family members and friends.”

The graduation festivities were punctuated by a big thank-you to TD Bank Group for being the exclusive financial partner of HYPE. In 2014, TD committed to investing $250,000 over three years to support this diverse program. In addition, TD provides student workshops to promote financial literacy and increase awareness and competency in personal financial management. 

“Centennial’s HYPE program is an invaluable community service that encourages youth to explore their potential and always strive for more,” said Mohamed Manji, Vice President of Everyday Banking, TD Canada Trust, and member of Centennial's Board of Governors. “We’re very proud to support an initiative that gives young people opportunities they may not otherwise enjoy. The return on investment is immeasurable when you’re shaping the future of our communities.”

Centennial works with local community service agencies to identify youth who could benefit from the program, which includes free transportation, meals and learning materials. One-third of the more than 1,000 young adults who have graduated from HYPE since its inception in 2004 have gone on to post-secondary education.