ATB unites to help Alberta’s youth gain access to education

ATB’s United Way 2021 fundraising campaign marks 21 years of supporting Alberta’s underserved

By Angelique Rodrigues 28 September 2021 2 min read

Illustration of people throwing graduation caps in air within a speech bubble, against a blue background

One in five students in Alberta will not finish high school on time. It's already an alarming stat but throw in a global pandemic that disrupts how schools, and parents, support the well-being of students and we risk that number increasing. 

Mandatory school closures affected all children, but their impact was felt most by the underserved—with many lacking the equipment or support needed to learn virtually. As the stress of the pandemic lingers, it continues to amplify those needs. 

And, in addition to a diminished school experience, the pandemic has impacted the emotional and mental health of many youth in Alberta. 

Thankfully, there are non-profits like United Way that dedicate time and resources to building (and rebuilding) access to education in Alberta. They fund a number of programs that give students the tools and support to address barriers and let them focus on their education.

“Reliable access to supports and services can help families deal with stressful challenges. Now, more than ever, children and youth need responsive, caring adults and emotional and physical supports to build resilience,” says Ilene Fleming, Director of Strategic Initiatives with United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. 

ATB’s United Way 2021 campaign places much-needed funds in the hands of those initiatives, like the All in For Youth (AIFY) program, that help vulnerable youth finish high school and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Through the generosity of our 5,000+ team members, this year’s month-long campaign—which ran August 23 - September 17—has raised $85,000 in donations.

According to United Way, the impact of those dollars raised will be felt by youth across the province. 

“Thanks to ATB’s incredible efforts, these donations can help fund vital youth support initiatives like All in for Youth, so every child has the chance to thrive,” explains Fleming.

ATB’s President and CEO Curtis Stange says he’s very proud of the ATB team and extremely supportive of the program, as increasing high school graduation rates and post secondary enrolment will be critical for our province’s economic recovery.

“Access to education is something that many of us may have taken for granted, but it's not a guarantee for every child in Alberta. Some children don't have the same opportunities or support systems in place," he said, adding this year’s United Way focus aligned serendipitously with ATB’s Greater Good strategy—a long-term effort to help solve some of society's greatest challenges.

“This United Way campaign is just one way we are working to demonstrate our commitment to contributing to the greater good of this incredible province, and help to raise the overall well-being of Albertans,” said Stange. 

In addition to access to education, ATB’s Greater Good strategy also seeks to move the province forward in the areas of Access to Mental Health Supports and Access to Information and Communication.

You can learn more about ATB’s Greater Good strategy here.

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