What is the First Generations Organization?
First Generations Organization (1GO) is to serve as a national ambassador providing support, resources and guidance for post-secondary students who face a lack of resources. This can include financial need, recent immigration and adverse circumstances, especially regarding first-generation student status in Canada. A first-generation student is defined as a student whose parent(s)/guardian(s) has/have not attended a post-secondary institution in Canada.
How does the organization work?
1GO’s primary aim is to serve as a national non-profit organization, with chapters established at post-secondary institutions, as well as a national team. The targeted students include high school students in grade 11 and 12, as well as university students in the first year, program transfer or university transfer. 1GO has three main pillars of support:
1) Advocacy & Outreach
1GO’s voice through social media will provide a strong channel of advocacy and awareness for marginalized communities in the post-secondary world, including those with financial need, adverse circumstances and immigrants. Online collaborations with other organizations will help create constructive discussions and blogs on what these students need. This platform will also allow 1GO reach more individuals.
2) Mentorship Program
Students in the mentorship program will be paired online with a mentor in their professional fields or post-secondary degrees of preference. 1GO helps the pair determine the conditions of their mentorship including length, goals and an action plan for the student. After this, the pair is free to continue communication strictly online or meet in person. The goal is to provide the mentee with the mentor’s experiences, skills and advice giving them exposure to particular career fields or resources/connections within these fields.
1GO will provide various resources like scholarships, networking events, Q&A panels, workshops, and high school visits.
Why is the organization needed?
In the United States, there are many organizations that help populations adjust to post-secondary, including the “I’m First” program scattered throughout hundreds of post-secondary schools. However, almost none of these reach out to students in high school to address this specific issue early on or help directly fix the issue of a lack of resources and knowledge about post-secondary. It is in this stage where resources are crucial in aiding students to choose a major, apply for financial help and transition into university fostering their inclusivity as Canadian post-secondary students.
It is evident that addressing the lack of resources and knowledge directly can solve the problem from the root, instead of simply bandaging the problem. As technology and the internet become more and more accessible, they can serve as multipurpose tools to bring resources to these individuals and raise awareness, promoting inclusivity and belonging. Creating a support organization with a strong library of resources online and a large presence will give these students the boost they need.