Student enrollees in the West Windsor poverty reduction program On Track to SuccessStudent enrollees in the West Windsor poverty reduction program On Track to Success pose during an event to announce its launch, Wednesday in the Odette Building.

Professor to gauge success of student support strategy

As the United Way launches a program to ensure students from West Windsor have the support they need to succeed in school, a professor from the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business will be measuring its progress.

Finance professor Rajeeva Sinha heads an interdisciplinary research team that will evaluate the effectiveness of On Track to Success, which will provide participating youths chosen from vulnerable populations access to tutoring and other opportunities: recreational activities, volunteering, career building, mentorship, individualized support, and up to $4,000 in scholarships for post-secondary education.

“Obviously there will be benefits,” says Dr. Sinha. “We will gather the evidence and provide the measurable impact of donors’ dollars.”

He says that charities are often challenged to point to the concrete difference they make in communities, and his team—which includes researchers from the fields of sociology and education—has received government funding to determine whether the program can be scaled across the province.

A pilot program in Leamington last year generated support that has enabled the United Way to expand the program into Windsor’s west end in time for the September start to the 2016 school year.

“We know that education is one of the clearest pathways out of poverty,” says Alicea Fleming, a mentor for the West Windsor group. “Our community won’t thrive unless all residents have opportunities for the future.”

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