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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
December 3, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Project Descriptions

The Poverty Reduction Research Group and its members are actively working on the following projects:

Building Bridges to Success (BB2S) 

Building Bridges to Success (BB2S) is a program by Pathways to Education-Kitchener in conjunction with Wilfrid Laurier University. This program was designed as an extension of the Pathways to Education program, created to assist students in low-income neighbourhoods to achieve academic success. As a result of this program, students with an 80%-average or higher are accepted to an Introduction to Sociology course at Wilfrid Laurier University. Pathways to Education is designed to keep students in high-school and increase their performance, while Building Bridges to Success is designed to foster opportunities for students to experience an easier transition to university or college through the accomplishment of the following objectives:

1. Assisting students to gain first-hand knowledge about university education
2. Allowing students to gain university credit on a university transcript
3. Enhancing studentsí study and time-management skills; and
4. Giving high-school students an opportunity to take part in student life opportunities outside of the classroom (ie. athletic centre activities)

This project involves the evaluation of approximately 20-25 students, led by the CCRLA research team, Dr. Terry Mitchell, Ravi Gokani and Shaan Dhillon (2011) and Courtney Arseneau and Radha Sayal (2012). The program is currently being evaluated, using quantitative measures, focus groups and interviews of students, parents and instructors with the two broad objectives below:

1. What outcomes result from the BB2S program?
2. How is the BB2S program experienced by stakeholders?

Societal Attitudes Project

The Societal Attitudes Project measures Wilfrid Laurier University Community Psychology undergraduate studentsí attitudes of people living in poverty through the administration of a ten image Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). Since very few studies have investigated the use of projective techniques on societal attitudes, the results of this project will be important to determine various attitudes and beliefs studentsí may have about those living in poverty. Currently, Dr. Colleen Loomis and Dr. Terry Mitchell are the principal investigators of this project, assisted by research coordinator Courtney Arseneau, research assistants Jackson Smith and Alexia Polillo and Mary MacKeigan from our community partner, Opportunities Waterloo.

Steps to Success (S2S) Project

Steps to Success (S2S) is a collaborative research project run between the Corporation of The City of Brantfordís Community Project personnel and the Centre for Community Research Learning and Action at the Wilfrid Laurier University Waterloo campus. This project, run in Brantford, Ontario, adopts an intergenerational approach in developing an intensive, settings-based case management and community developing program for individuals receiving OW & ODSP assistance.

Participants in the program include male and female adults between the ages of 25-65, employed in the City of Brantford who are working in either the social services or adult program participants between the ages of 20-55 who are living on social assistance. Data is collected and recorded through participant observation and consultation, specifically by conducting 1.5 hour long focus groups with service providers/representatives of Municipal and Federal government programs, staff of Steps to Success (S2S) and advisory group members. Early anecdotal evidence has stated that the project has much to offer individuals and their families facing complex challenges, with the potential to impact change at individual, family, and social levels across a wide range of domains. The central aim of this program is to evaluate poverty reduction strategies in order to improve local services and eliminate intergenerational or cyclic poverty.

Steps to Success (S2S) is an internship program funded by Mitacs-Accelerate Graduate Research Program and the Corporation of the City of Brantford for recipient, Courtney Arseneau, supervised by Dr. Terry Mitchell. Co-applicants also include poverty research coordinator Dr. Zinnat Bader and research assistant Alexia Pollilo.