TD donating $300,000 in support of new children's aid society program


TD Bank is donating $300,000 to the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Foundation to help young people facing child welfare issues as they make the transition to adulthood.

The 'Bridge of Hope' program will work with youth to address their financial needs while providing supports to help them complete secondary school, pursue post-secondary education, enter a trade or secure employment, set and achieve financial goals and secure safe and affordable housing.  

Financial, social and mental health supports will also be provided over the course of the program.

Derrick Drouillard, executive director of the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society, says the program will target youth 16-years of age and older.

"There's a number of youth we're looking at in terms of readiness for employment, post-secondary, trades or other areas. Our mandate for the youth we support is to 21," he says.


Cheque presentation at the Children's Aid Society on Thursday afternoon (Photo taken by AM800's Aaron Mahoney)

Officials with the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society say there are numerous challenges that impact youth who grow up involved with child welfare and when faced with independence, they have little financial, social or emotional support.

While trying to make their way in the world, they also have to manage past trauma, oppression, learning challenges, and mental health issues, which often leads to experiencing poverty, unemployment, homelessness and addictions.

Drouillard says these grants help these youth move forward after school.

"We're seeing the housing crisis in Windsor-Essex, the lack of affordable housing, the cost of rent. All of those things are magnified for youth, especially for youth who have a history of trauma, history where they haven't had the same start as a family that's more affluent or in a different place in life," he says.

Drouillard adds "this is designed specifically to help those youth to get to the finish line where they might have too many obstacles and barriers to even get out of the starting gate."

The funding will support the program for three-years.


- with files from AM800's Aaron Mahoney