(NC) June is graduation month for many teens across the country – a time to celebrate with occasions like prom, commencement, and family festivities. While it seems like a rite of passage for many, it’s important to be aware that in Canada, there are still students who don’t graduate from high school.

Each year, thousands of Canadian teenagers drop out of school and this number is especially high for youth in low-income communities. Although the average dropout rate is low overall – 7 to 13 per cent of students don’t complete high school in Canada – the number can skyrocket upwards to 50 per cent in the country’s lower socioeconomic communities.

The reasons why teens stop going to high school vary from person to person, says Pathways to Education Canada, a charitable organization that works closely with students from low-income communities to help them graduate.

“Youth in this socioeconomic group face many barriers that stand in the way of their high school graduation,” says Sue Gillespie, resident and CEO. “Although each student faces different barriers, it’s important to find ways to support them since dropping out of high school can have significant social and economic consequences.”

Although every situation is unique and personal challenges vary by individual, Pathways says it has identified common barriers that often prevent youth in low-income communities from completing their secondary education. Here are a few:

1. Limited or no access to additional supports such as tutoring;

2. Lack of extracurricular and mentoring opportunities to offer experiential learning and guide future goals;

3. Inability to pay for bus tickets and food.

Pathways says it believes that access to resources – such as tutoring, mentoring, and family supports – are essential to a student’s success.

“Our organization is a community-based program that works with students to help them not only graduate from high school, but transition into post-secondary education, training, or employment,” she continues. “We provide youth with the academic, social, financial, and one-on-one supports they need to succeed.” Additional information about dropout prevention is available at: www.pathwaystoeducation.ca.