A multi-faceted education program, RBC Raise the Grade increases academic skills, high school graduation rates, and access to post-secondary education for youth. It is an interactive after-school program that allows young people to explore their personal interests, receive homework support, connect with mentors and/or tutors, interact with peers, increase their digital literacy, and plan for post-secondary education. For youth aged 14 – 18.
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We asked Jarrod Johnston, based out of Montreal, about his RBC Raise the Grade experience
How long have you been part of Boys and Girls Clubs?
I’ve been part of Raise the Grade for 5 years, and at the Boys and Girls Club for 10 years. I was also part of the Youth Council. I was very involved with the Club during those years and would be there from 4-9 pm everyday after school.
What is your most memorable moment in RBC Raise the Grade?
All my best friends were made through the program. Being there every day together and helping each other out made our bond stronger and made us become better friends. That was my best experience there and even though I’m not in the program anymore, I still pass by sometimes and get advice from the staff.
What are some of the positive effects the program had on you?
Being in a space where everyone is doing homework, made me do my homework! It gave me the opportunity to develop better ways to do my homework. Whenever I needed help, I could get it. It was a great space for that.
What were some of the challenges?
Going through all the high school years, you’re growing up and changing, so it was a lot of things like that. Mainly, it’s just growing up and getting through my teenage years, figuring out who I want to be.
Have you seen how RBC Raise the Grade affects others?
It impacted us all in positive ways, whether it’s the friendships we’ve gained or the way we worked, like developing better study habits and ways to be productive. The tutors did teach us a lot. Even the staff, they became mentors to us, not just for academics, but for life in general. When I was going to CEGEP, they helped with my transcript and applications. They were there for us whenever we needed help with anything. Even in university, they were there every step of the way.
Can you describe your academic journey and your career plans?
In Quebec, we end at grade eleven so instead of grade twelve, we have CEGEP. It’s basically a two-year pre-university program or a three-year career program. You can choose your program and courses. I did the two-year program and then applied to Concordia University, and I’m in the Communications program now. I have a creative and artistic side, so my ideal job would be working with a culture magazine.
I definitely want to work within the art world. I love fashion and photography. I’d love to work at a magazine that incorporates pop culture and all those aspects I’m interested in. Magazines do encompass all those things, so it would be great for me. That would be my goal. I’m not that into journalism but my end goal may be an editor or a fashion editor, definitely something on the more creative side. But I want to be as well-versed as I can.