Get your child to bank on education
By Monty Laskin/Caledon Community Services
There aren’t many things that compete with parenting when you’re looking to do something that’s exhilarating. Sure, you can opt for gardening and create a beautiful oasis. You can become a carpenter and build masterpieces of art and comfort. Or you could be a politician and shape a foreign policy or build a community. All eminently worthwhile, each is a pursuit that will provide endless joy. Then there’s parenting.
Nothing beats it on the exhilaration measuring stick. Just sayin…
Let’s look at the facts.
You have a newborn smelling good enough to eat but you know enough to know that it’s only going to get better. So you hold off. The early years are incredible, new things happening at a pace that’s breathtaking. “Becoming” seems an apt description; your child takes shape in all of her or his uniqueness. It’s the best journey possible.
Ahh….. adolescence. That time when a new person emerges, seemingly overnight. Energy, feelings and experiences are seemingly magnified and then magnified again. And again after that. It’s that stage of parenting that is one of the most illuminating because you often get to see yourself in your growing teenager. At times it can be an acute awakening for a parent. It’s a time of strong convictions and the blossoming of abilities. There’s a character taking shape that has potential to do big things for the world. For herself. For the family he will create.
Then comes post-secondary education. Or does it?
That is a question that is apparently made much easier to answer if you have education savings in the bank. Youth who have even modest savings earmarked for their education are 50 per cent more likely to participate in post-secondary schooling. A good education open doors for young minds. And those doors lead to a thousand possibilities. What parent doesn’t want a thousand possibilities for their child?
The gift of learning is priceless. For someone who aspires to learn and acquire skills with which to build a good life, post-secondary schooling is a good route.
Community organizations work daily with families who aren’t in a position to sock away savings for their child’s education. They are working towards that time when they will be able to make contributions; but right now, disposable income is limited once the rent, food and other basics are satisfied.
Here’s where the Canada Savings Bond comes in. It’s a tremendous resource for families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement and whose children were born after December 31, 2003.
The Canada Learning Bond is one of those too-good-to-be-true giveaways. It’s as free as money is ever going to get. Eligible children receive $500 at registration and an additional $100 yearly until age 15. The bond grows through interest over time and no parental contribution is required. The grant is also retroactive, so families can collect on past years where they qualified.
When the evidence is plain as day, that youth with savings are twice as likely to pursue post-secondary education, it makes good sense to do everything possible to create those savings. Peel Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI), a collection of child and youth champions, is working to get the word out about the Canada Learning Bond. They advise that approximately 40 per cent of all eligible children in Peel are enrolled in the Canada Learning Bond and that means there’s almost 50,000 children in Peel who are more likely to attend post-secondary school. However, PCYI also tells us that there are still at least 70,000 eligible children in Peel who are entitled to the Canada Learning Bond but have not enrolled.
This seems like a good point to return to that exhilarating parenting conversation. It’s fair to say that parenting is eminently worthwhile; challenging yet wouldn’t trade it for anything; a gift better than any other; actually, more of a blessing. My push for post-secondary education is a push for a life of learning for all children so that they, too, can be exhilarated at opportunities that will present themselves through education. The Canada Learning Bond is an investment in raw potential. Let’s take advantage of it until the cows come home. Or at least until our children do, quite likely well after curfew.
For more information on the Canada Learning Bond in Caledon, contact the Caledon Parent-Child Centre at 905-857-0090 or at (www.cp-cc.org). You can also reach Caledon Community Services at (905) 951-2300 and speak to Lori or Layla or go to www.ccs4u.org. To reach Peel Children and Youth Initiative, go to www.pcyi.org.