First in the Family Initiative giving first-generation students a leg up

Haley Falco
News Reporter

Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students who are the first in their immediate families to enrol in post-secondary education have the opportunity to access to special information services.

The First in the Family Initiative provides services for those students looking to complete a Canadian college, university, or apprenticeship program.

“A first-generation student is someone who is the first in their family to come to post-secondary,” Peer Programs coordinator Kara-Lee Dell said.

“There are actually four different types of services that we offer,” Shivanie Mangal, Lakeshore campus’ first-generation facilitator said.

“The first is one-on-one guidance. The student books an appointment with an advisor and it’s almost the same format as how a counseling session is set up,” Mangal said. “You book an appointment, you show up, you talk in private.”

Financial aid information services are also available for first generation students.

Financial aid workshops and assistance with financial aid forms are also available for first generation students.“These are group sessions where we do it almost like a classroom format. We do the presentation on the different forms of financial aid. Scholarships, bursaries, things like that,” Mangal said.

Another service is ‘Journey to Success’, which encourages students to become engaged in Humber events and workshops.

“Every student who registers with the program gets a booklet that they take along with them,” Mangal said. “They have to attend workshops and then they can receive stamps.”

The booklets will be collected in late November, and the participants will receive prizes depending on how many stamps they have earned.

“The program was originally called the Tap program, and it has been renamed and redesigned. It’s a bit different in the services it provides but both programs are supporting students, making their transition to their first year of college,” said Melanie Chai, manager of Peer Programs & Community Engagement.

Many improvement have been made to the program since its launch.

“It is different,” Chai said. “Before, students were a part of a group, so when you signed up to be a part of the program, students would meet weekly. Whatever they needed support for, we would provide it.

“We’re always working on getting the word out there for more students to learn about the service and the program,” Chai added. “It’s about supporting first-generation students making the transition to college.”