You’ve Got Options

About Us

The Ontario Educational Championship Team (Waterloo-Wellington) is a group of community members from a variety of sectors. We work together to increase the awareness, participation, and the success of youth in care at all levels of education, while preparing them for employment.

The OECT Waterloo-Wellington focuses on the needs of youth in extended society care (formerly Crown Wards) to help them overcome their unique barriers, allowing them to have a better chance at succeeding in post-secondary education, training and employment.

We are here to harness the super powers of our partners to help youth in extended society care feel supported and confident in each phase of their education, academic and career journeys.

Some of the activities that our partnership undertakes to help youth in extended society care include:

  • Career and lifestyle visioning activities through photo and video projects
  • Work closely with local employment agencies to assist with job placements and skill development
  • Implement post-secondary peer based programs and community based service-learning programs
  • Work in partnership with local school boards to ensure education success
  • Support foster families through sharing relevant information

How We Can Help

The OECT Waterloo-Wellington understands the unique challenges that youth in extended society care face every day. We are here to help these youth (and those supporting them) make their dreams and aspirations a reality by providing them with the tools, resources and information to help them have a better chance. We have youth in extended society care directly involved in the planning of these resources, tools and outreach events through our Youth Advisory Board to make sure that we are providing the right information and the best answers.

Have a look and see for yourself! We have tons of information to help you make decisions on the type of education and training you want, financing and funding opportunities, and other helpful tools and checklists to help you make a successful transition into post-secondary education.

Success Stories

Kyle’s story

Kyle’s father left before he was born, and his mother relied on his aunt and uncle for financial support. Later, he and his mom moved frequently. Kyle’s mother had difficulties and eventually left Kyle with his aunt. By then he was a challenging child and his aunt called Family & Children’s Services to have him placed into foster care. He lived in his first foster home for three years with a family. He also had to deal with inconsistent messages from his birth mother and with feeling alone. He struggled at school and had difficulties being categorized as a Crown Ward (now referred to as youth in extended society care). Feeling that he couldn’t handle life anymore, he told his closest friend of his plan to commit suicide. His friend did what any good friend would do and told his mom. Not only did she call Kyle right away she went even further; she took the training and preparation to become a foster parent and welcomed Kyle into her home. With her love and support Kyle has now completed a major in History with a minor in English at the University of Guelph. While Kyle was in school, he was a founding member of the University of Guelph Crown Ward Peer Helper program and he has been recognized by the University for his contributions. Kyle has been accepted into Teacher’s College and is about to start a new academic journey at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Natalie’s story

Natalie believed in herself and pursued post-secondary education. She is currently attending the University of Waterloo and is enrolled in the Social Development Studies program. Her future career goal is to become a Counsellor or a Youth Service Worker. Volunteering plays a large role in her life as she enjoys helping others. Currently, she is a Peer Mentor for Family & Children’s Services and supports the Community Torchlight Crisis Line. To bring balance to her life she finds time to read, play guitar, and spend time with her friends.

Jessica’s story

Jessica came into the foster care system at the age of 15 after her parents discovered and disagreed with her sexual orientation. No longer permitted to live at home she lost interest in school and withdrew from life. It was a difficult time. However, in grade 11 she decided to turn things around by studying diligently, breaking away from anything negative in her life, and starting to volunteer. These changes empowered Jessica with the abilities and the attitude to pursue post-secondary education. Now a graduate from the University of Waterloo – Renison University Campus with a degree in Social Development Studies, and currently working towards her Bachelor of Social Work, Jessica is writing her own success story. Jessica is passionate about providing youth with similar backgrounds a better chance and as such, is involved in several initiatives to help support youth in care. Her message to youth in care is: “you are just as capable as others to achieve your dreams and goals”. Jessica has been acknowledged for her contributions as the recipient of a number of awards in the community. Jessica’s long-term goal is to work with youth in the LGTBQ community.

Brandon’s story

After coming into care at the age of 5 with his developmentally challenged brother, Brandon has decided to strive for nothing but the best. He chooses to be motivated by his past and to let nothing stand in his way of success. He is currently enrolled in post-secondary education at the University of Waterloo, where he is a member of the Warriors Football Team and part of the Team Up program. He’s also involved with two football clubs, helps coach the Kitchener Ice Pirates special needs hockey team, and is a Peer Mentor for Family & Children’s Services. He credits his foster care experience as what inspires him to help others succeed and recognizes his brother as his personal strength and motivation to keep giving back to the community.

Jessie’s story

“Going off to College was hard. The school work was hard, and leaving Guelph with all my friends, family and my boyfriend was even harder. The first month I was in Sudbury I struggled a lot. I was lucky that I had some family who live there to support me through everything. Without them I don’t know what I would have done.

During my year at college I was also happy to have the support of Family & Children’s Services, of my worker, and the financial support from the scholarships I received. The staff and the donors through F&CS have given me opportunities that I would not have had if I wasn’t a crown ward, and I’m grateful for everything. I plan to work hard in the hopes that the support will continue.”

~ Jessie (youth in care)

Contact Us

If you have any questions about OECT or this website, you can send an email to


Here are some of the Contacts for some of our Kitchener/Waterloo/Wellington Post-secondary Partners:

Student Success Consultants

Employment Service Providers for the Ontario Education Championship Team

For a comprehensive list, please visit this link.

Youth In Transition Workers

John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington offers a variety of prevention, intervention, educational and service programs to individuals transitioning out of care. A Youth in Transition Worker help youth ages 16-24 connect with educational, employment, housing, life skills, mental health and other resources in their communities. The program works from a strength-based youth driven framework, which means; the program is voluntary and based on whether the young person feels they need further support.

Karl Garner
John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington