By Katherine Matiko, Communications Coordinator, Catholic Family Service

Never Too Late graduation ceremonies tend to be family affairs.

At a recent celebration in the Bowness community, several young children sat in the audience, excitedly watching their family members cross the stage. Sometimes, they joined right in and that’s okay. In fact, we encourage it.

After all, Never Too Late is designed to build strong families by helping adult learners who face significant educational barriers obtain their GED (high school equivalent). Research shows that children are more likely to complete high school when their parents have their high school education.

At the Bowness grad on October 22, 14 students were honoured for their accomplishments. Another 15 will graduate in the Greater Forest Lawn area on October 29. Meanwhile, about 70 students from the two communities are currently attending bi-weekly classes to prepare for their GED exams in 2019. Next spring, they too will celebrate graduation with their families – it’s a tradition we have proudly supported since 2007.

While there are other GED preparation programs in Calgary, the Never Too Late program is truly unique.  For one thing, there is no cost to students. Classes led by qualified teachers are held in the evenings to accommodate student commitments such as work or child care. The program is offered in local communities in order to ease transportation costs. A program coordinator attends every class to provide social and emotional support as needed. It’s really no wonder that 78% of the Never Too Late students who wrote their GED exams last year passed.

In 2017, we launched a second location for Never Too Late in Greater Forest Lawn. Interest in this area of the city has grown so much that we had twice as many applications as seats this fall. Another milestone: 20 students from the Fall 2017 class achieved their GED, the highest number of graduates in one class that we have ever experienced! As well, 83% of graduates surveyed reported that they are pursuing post-secondary education or have experienced an increase in employment income of at least 10%.

To our donors, funders and volunteers: Thank you for giving hope to those who thought it was too late to pursue further education. Their success – and your support – will have a significant impact on their families in the future.

Never Too Late participants meet two evenings each week for three hours per night over a period of four and a half months, with access to volunteer tutors outside of class time. The Never Too Late Coordinator works side-by-side with students to identify and overcome any barriers to completing their GED. The results: improved self-esteem and confidence, and higher success rates for adults who write the GED exam. READ MORE