Yves and Cynthia received the 2017 Faculty's Recognition Award
Helping marginalized students pursue their educational dreams
For over 25 years, Ottawa-based philanthropists and educators Yves and Cynthia Bled have supported the University of Ottawa and a number of other post-secondary institutions in the National Capital Region and beyond. At uOttawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences, the Bleds have created two educational endowments to support the Canadian Future Achievers Role Model Program (CFA) and the Future Achievers International Role Model Program (FAI).
The innovative CFA program, founded by Cynthia Bled, encourages Canadian students of First Nations, Inuit or Caribbean heritage to complete high school and pursue post-secondary studies, thereby becoming role models for other youth in their communities.
Building global partnerships and links
The FAI was created to provide similar opportunities for international students, encouraging them to complete high school while at the same time building cross-cultural links and global awareness among youth.
Over the past five years, these programs have encouraged almost 130 students from Canada (31 current students and 67 alumni) and six countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean (30 current students) to complete high school and pursue their dreams of higher education.
Rewarding academic excellence, community involvement, and extra-curricular activities
The CFA and FAI programs work with teachers and schools from elementary to high school, both in Canada and abroad, to identify students who demonstrate academic excellence, community involvement, and significant interest in extra-curricular activities. The programs provide modest cash incentives to students every year until they earn a high school diploma and start a degree program. The financial support and participation certificates not only encourage youth to complete high school, but also provide a strong psychological boost.
Elevating the profile of uOttawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences
The Bled’s vision of enabling disadvantaged youth to pursue their educational dreams, coupled with their confidence in the Faculty of Social Science and its ability to manage and grow both the CFA and FAI programs over time, has improved the Faculty’s reputation in Canada and abroad. The CFA and FAI programs have enabled the Faculty to play a leading role in encouraging exceptional high school students from disadvantaged communities, both locally and overseas, to complete high school, thereby helping them build a foundation for post-secondary success.