BURLINGTON, August 8, 2016 — At just 15 years old, Kayla became her family’s primary breadwinner. With her mother battling cancer and unable to work, it fell upon the grade 10 student to get a part-time job to help support them both.

Teachers say the stress was affecting the teen’s performance in school. Working so many hours and worrying about her mother and their finances left her unable to concentrate in class.

Unfortunately, Kayla’s case is not unique. With a new school year just weeks away, the Halton Learning Foundation’s thoughts are turning to the 1 in 10 Halton District School Board students like Kaylah who struggle to remain in school due to economic challenges.

“Many families in Halton face financial emergencies because of an unexpected job loss or serious illness, while others struggle with finances regularly  due to low-paid work or mental health issues,” says Lesley Mansfield, executive director of the Halton Learning Foundation. “Whatever the reason, financial challenges at home mean many students do not have the resources they need to fully participate in learning.”

In Kaylah’s case, her school guidance counsellor contacted the Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) for assistance. HLF enabled Kaylah to purchase groceries, toiletries and a winter coat, relieving some of the financial pressure she was under and allowing her to successfully finish her academic year. Last year, HLF provided financial assistance to help more than 700 Halton students stay in school.

With back-to-school shopping just around the corner, HLF is asking people to consider a donation to ensure less fortunate kids like Kaylah have an equal opportunity to succeed in school. Just a few dollars can supply a student of the Halton District School Board with school supplies, gym shoes, healthy lunches or the means to participate in a class trip or school team with classmates.

“No Halton student should be left behind,” says Mansfield. “If we can help children and youth facing financial barriers with the resources to stay in school and engaged in learning, they have a much better chance to create a successful future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

To help a student before September 1, please donate here: haltonlearningfoundation.ca.