In recent years, Queen’s student athletes have increased their community involvement across Kingston. On Mar. 24, several members of the Queen’s Varsity Leadership Council (VLC) continued these efforts by mentoring 15 Pathways to Education students at the ARC.
The Kingston chapter of Pathways is run by the Kingston Community Health Centre. Pathways’ aim is to help youth from low-income communities successfully graduate from high school and transition into post-secondary education, training or employment.
The day at the ARC began with a talk from Rio 2016 Olympic sailor Lee Parkhill in the building’s alumni lounge. With lunch supplied, the kids and athletes played games of volleyball, dodgeball and soccer in the ARC upper gyms. The day of activities concluded with speeches about how varsity athletes balance their athletic and academic lives.
In a recent statement in the Queen’s Gazette, Executive Director of Queen’s Athletics and Recreation Leslie Dal Cin explained the benefits student-athletes can provide to low-income youth.
“When it comes to the Pathways organization, we share many of the same values around the importance of education, wellness and physical activity as contributors to personal and professional success,” Dal Cin said. “Not only can our student-athletes act as mentors for these high school students, they can learn from them about goal setting, resilience and overcoming obstacles.”
The Pathways’ partnership with the VLC is new this year. Over the course of the 2017-18 academic school year, several varsity athletes have gone to thE Pathways facility each week to work with the Pathways students through tutoring and mentoring.
The Division of Student Affairs has worked with Pathways for years to help with applications and offer transportation to the university’s Fall Preview and summer orientation programs. Any high school student who spends four years with Pathways gets $2,000 in scholarship money towards the post-secondary education of their choice. At Queen’s, they offer renewable entrance awards for Pathways’ youth members.
VLC co-chair and graduating member of the women’s basketball team Andrea Priamo was one of the varsity athletes who hosted the Pathways students.
She said the event was an exciting and inspiring experience for everyone involved.
“Some of our athletes had speeches prepared about being a varsity athlete and what kind of people to surround yourself with and what will make you successful,” Priamo said in an interview with The Journal.
On top of this, Priamo said a few of the athletes added exercises to their speeches to make them interactive for the students.
“For me, it was really inspiring to hear about the students’ aspirations and see how the Pathways program has shaped their mindset,” she added. “We aimed to help with that by sharing our experiences.”
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