TORONTO, May 25, 2023 – CNIB – Canada’s largest non-profit supporting people who are blind or partially sighted – is pleased to announce a new partnership that will give young people the tools and resources they need to succeed, both now and into the future.
The RBC Foundation, through RBC Future Launch, has stepped forward to prepare young Canadians with sight loss for the future of work with a new commitment of $250,000 to CNIB.
Building on RBC Future Launch’s previous support of CNIB’s employment programming for youth, this new gift over the next two years will:
- Impact approximately 515 young people who are blind or living with low vision
- Enable the growth and success of key pre-employment and employment readiness initiatives geared toward young people between the ages of 15 and 29
- Support initiatives like the National Youth Council that help young people build skills and confidence as they embark on academic and job-seeking pursuits.
“Increasing access to employment resources for young Canadians is foundational to the CNIB and RBC Future Launch partnership,” says Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, at RBC. “Together, we’re creating programs that evolve with young people, meeting them where they are, with the resources they need. We’re excited to support this program with CNIB!”
Preparing youth for the changing world of work will require cross-sector partnerships. CNIB is pleased to collaborate with the RBC Foundation, through RBC Future Launch, as well as governments, educators, youth-serving organizations, and other companies – both large and small – to foster change that makes a real difference in the lives of our youth participants.
“Every young person in Canada deserves to enjoy the same opportunities to secure stable employment and pursue their chosen careers,” says John Rafferty, President and CEO of CNIB. “With this impactful new gift, the RBC Foundation through RBC Future Launch is taking meaningful action toward a more equitable future by helping young people with sight loss prepare for employment success – and creating a stronger Canada in the process.”
Caelin Lloyd, a Halifax-based Grade 12 student, disability justice advocate, member of CNIB’s National Youth Council, and CNIB staff member, says CNIB programs helped him feel prepared to enter university next year and connect his interests to potential career paths.
“These programs are essential,” he says. “By our very nature, youth who are blind or partially sighted have less exposure to all of the different career options available to us. CNIB’s pre-employment programs provide youth like me with a huge confidence boost while teaching many practical skills, including how to advocate for ourselves throughout the process of seeking and securing employment.”
Abby Sienko, a member of CNIB’s National Youth Council and current student of the Bachelor of Arts program in child and youth care at Douglas College in Vancouver, agrees, saying the youth employment programs are critical opportunities for young people with sight loss.
“These programs allow young people to see the world and the world to see them,” Abby says. “They allow youth to develop advocacy skills and leadership skills, to try different avenues and see what fits them best. Just as importantly, they also help employers understand what people with sight loss are capable of.”
To learn more about CNIB and how we’re changing what it is to be blind today, visit cnib.ca.
To learn more about RBC Future Launch, click here.