We have not been proactive in asking for donations in the three years since we opened our doors. Co-founder and Co-director André Morson and I are educators first. The multiple hats we now wear: fundraiser, grant-writer, networker, mentor, graphic designer, writer, teacher have forced us on a steep learning curve. We’re up for the task.

We are conducting our first-ever fall campaign where we have asked our most dedicated supporters to find 10 people in their network to donate to Compass. In our efforts to reach our goal of raising $5000 in the next two weeks, we wanted to remind you why Compass is worth your support.

  1. Because we change lives.

We asked our teens “what if Compass didn’t exist?” One of them, an artist working to build her portfolio for admission to an animation program, responded: “I’m so much more productive now that I’m not at school.” Other teens responded: “I would not be in an environment where I can learn what I want to learn and where I feel welcomed.” “If I wasn’t at Compass I would probably be at home with few friends and completely anti-social and hating humanity.” But the response that will keep us buoyed up in the purpose of our work for a long time is the following: “I was so depressed when I was in school. I don’t know if I would even still be around if Compass didn’t exist.” We, as a society, need to start remembering that young people actually do want to learn in a way that stems from their joy and inner drive, not anxiety and outer pressure. Otherwise, the costs may be unacceptably high.

  1. Because our reach is greater than you might realize.

The young people who have been able to experience taking their learning into their own hands will go out to become change-makers in their own right. Their voices matter at Compass and they will continue to seek out situations, jobs, and relationships in which they matter. Because once you get used to mattering, it’s hard to go back. The teens who come to Compass are learning to live in community with one another. They are learning who they are, what drives them, and how to pursue their goals. These are the kinds of people you would want as a fellow citizen, a co-worker, a neighbour. You’re welcome.

  1. Because we’re in your town.

We’re innovative. And local innovation, when done well, deserves the support of its community. Canada’s first self-directed learning centre didn’t crop up in Vancouver or Toronto; we’re in Ottawa. We form partnerships, provide meaningful volunteer opportunities, add our perspective in the media, host panel discussions, and participate in a multitude of community events.

We provide inspiration for what education could be and give other change-makers something to point to. Do we wish we received public funding? Of course we do. Hopefully the public system will catch up with us someday. Until then, we are offering young people who are seeking an alternative a platform from which to launch into their lives now. We believe in our vision and need the support of people like you to continue offering our services to everyone.

  1. Because we are not a private school.

As a charity, Compass has a mandate of not turning away families for their inability to pay. We currently offer, on average, a 55% fee reduction to over half of our families. Money raised will subsidize families, allowing us to offer more scholarships to more families who would otherwise not consider our program. Everyone deserves to choose the style of education that works best for them. At Compass, families have that choice.

Become a supporter of Compass