REALTORS® serving Calgary and area

July 23, 2014 | Cody Stuart

It's never too late

Brokerage supports program helping Calgarians graduate high school 

There can be many stumbling blocks to choosing the right home: finding the right location, amenities and availability, to name a few.

Yet for many Calgarians, the first step to buying a home comes not with securing a mortgage, but with securing an education.  The Never Too Late program has long supported adults in their quest to complete their Grade 12 Equivalency Diploma (GED). It is supported by the Unlocking Potential (UP) Foundation, which, for the third year, was the beneficiary of the Calgary Real Estate Company's Golf Tournament held at the Blue Devil Golf Club July 15 that raised more than $8,000 for the cause.

"It's an interesting program because it helps adults, but (its) intent is really to help the children," said Sherry Hiebert-Keck, community services supervisor for Catholic Family Service, which works in conjunction with the foundation. "Research has shown that the biggest predictor for a child finishing their high school education is their parent having their high school diploma."

Under the program, 161 residents have completed the preparation classes and written their GED exam between September 2006 and 2010. By doing so, the program improves not only the lives of its graduates, but also those of generations to come.

"For many of our students coming in, they carry a lot of shame not having completed high school. So it's difficult for them, with those feelings of shame, to go in to their child's school and advocate on their child's behalf," said Jessica Williams, development officer for Unlocking Potential.

In addition to boosting participants' self-esteem and confidence, the program also helps improve their earning power, allowing families to lessen some of the stresses associated with finances.

"The other benefit, when you're looking at long-term poverty reduction, we know that there's an income increase for the students who complete their GED," said Williams.

According to Hiebert-Keck, 58 per cent of graduates from Never Too Late increased their income, on average, by $17,000 per year.

"That's huge. That means that you can pay your bills. That means that you can potentially buy or rent a home," she said.

Supporting the program through an annual golf tournament was a no-brainer, said The Real Estate
Company Ltd.'s broker/owner David Brown.

"After doing some research, I found out it was a tremendous charity," he said, adding many of the company's agents also contribute a portion of their sales to the charity as well.

"It had a lot to do with young adults and them getting back into the workforce and being able to do better for their lives and for their families."

For more information on The UP Foundation and the Never Too Late Program, visit

Tagged: Calgary | Calgary Community

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