Sunday | October 20, 2019

Finding a Great Student Job

If you’re a high school student, getting a part-time job can be a wonderful idea. In fact, according to data provided by Child Trends, almost half of all young people ages 16 to 24 in the U.S. work either full or part-time. In Canada, 56 percent of undergraduate students have jobs, with the average working student putting in approximately 18 hours a week.

Some studies show that 18 percent of high school students have jobs. This can be a great way to have extra spending money or to save for travel and post-secondary school. Tuition rates are rising and parents are not always able to help fund the hefty cost of post-secondary education. Working is a fantastic way to ensure you have money on hand to contribute to your future.

But there are even more great reasons to work as a teenager. It teaches responsibility, as well as time management and organizational skills. Working will give you a sense of independence and help you gain valuable work habits and experience. Being employed as a teen is also linked to increased rates of graduation and greater earnings in the adult years.

The key is to ensure you’re finding a balance. Studies show that students who work more than 20 hours a week have lower grades than students who work fewer hours. Working too much can conflict with class and leave less time to study and complete school work. It also might detract from participating in extra-curricular activities, such as sports, drama and music. These activities also provide important benefits, so you don’t want to give these up.

With balance in mind, there are some great job opportunities available for students interested in working part time.

The first step is to think about your interests, goals and your current schedule. For instance, do you like sports? Math? Computers? Kids? You might want to offer skating lessons or help coach a team if you’re a hockey whiz. If you excel at math, maybe you can tutor. Ask around or put up signs offering your math services. If you are great at computer coding, there are several small businesses that teach coding to kids. Why not approach them and see if they need help with an after-school program? If you like kids and tend to be free on weekends, maybe you want to babysit. There are many opportunities you might not have considered that tend to be perfect for students. For instance, you can be a lifeguard, camp counsellor, take on a student internship, caddy at a golf club or help a landscaper.

This is also the time to think about your goals. If you want to be a teacher, working with kids or tutoring can be a great entry into that field and will look great on your resume in future. If you’re more entrepreneurial and dream of having your own business one day, this might be a great time to start thinking of ways to make your first business happen.

It’s also important to consider how much time you have available. Do you tend to be busy during the week with academics and extra-curricular activities? You’ll want to look for jobs you can do during the weekends or perhaps during the summer instead of during the school year. If you have an easier semester and tend to have time in the evenings, consider a job that would enable you to work evening hours.

Go online and do some of your own research. There are many job search sites that feature jobs for students. You might find some you’d never considered before. It’s often just as helpful to find jobs you’re not at all interested in doing. This will help you narrow your search and focus in on your interests and needs.

Write down some ideas as part of a brainstorm. Get your friends, parents, a teacher or guidance counsellor involved—they are sure to have some thoughts on how you can proceed. They want to see you succeed and can be helpful in providing guidance when you need it most.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do and how much time you have to devote to it, get your resume started. If you have one already, that’s great—you’re ahead of the game. Make sure to read it over and polish it off, updating it with a new goal or objective. Start approaching potential employers to let them know you’re interested in applying for a job. This might lead to a phone or in-person interview. Be honest about your goals and the time you have available.

And make sure you have a bank account set up because soon enough you’ll have money to deposit.

May 3rd, 2019

Posted In: Community, Education, Uncategorised

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Student Summer Jobs

It is problematic as a parent to know whether you’re making the right decisions for your teens. One of the things that begins to plague the minds of parents at this time of year is whether or not their teenager should have a summer job.

There are so many ways to spend a summer. After a tough academic year, your teen might want to chill out and spend time with their friends. They might want to travel, play sports or take a course. Working is a great option as well. But which will be the most beneficial experience for your child and which will universities value?

According to education experts and parenting gurus, holding a job is a great idea and teaches teenagers a variety of valuable lessons—lessons that will weigh heavily in your teen’s favour when it comes time to apply for university.

Here are a few reasons why getting a summer job is a great idea:

Interview skills: There’s no better way to prepare your teen for the road ahead than to have them experience the job application process. Not only will they have to create a winning resume, they will also gain experience looking for work, networking, applying for jobs and interviewing for positions. These skills will come in handy whether they actually get the job for which they’ve applied or they don’t. At some point they will apply for a scholarship or job and they will be that much further prepared than their peers who never experienced the process. It can definitely be nerve wracking and stressful, but the more experience they have the more natural it will become as they get older.

Rejection: Let’s face it: like all of us, our kids are bound to experience rejection at some point or another. They might apply for their first job and get it, or they might be turned down. This in itself is a great experience in building resilience and handling upsetting life lessons. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and managed. The better your teen gets at handling rejection, the easier it will be for them to bounce back and move onto other experiences and opportunities. They might even learn about themselves in the process. Maybe they are stronger, more positive or more independent than they imagined themselves to be. Maybe they will come to appreciate why they didn’t get the job—what experience they are lacking or why an interview went badly—and use it get the next job. Even rejection has its benefits.

Responsibility: When your child does get that first job and enters the workforce for the summer, there are myriad lessons they will learn. The first of which is perhaps responsibility. They will need to learn to arrive on time, to handle difficult situations or people and they will be depended upon to do their job properly. Having a job is also a great way to learn about teamwork, commitment and time management. These are all key life skills that will be required to succeed not only in their first job, but in every other job that follows.

Finances: Earning your first paycheque is a fantastic way to start learning about the value of a dollar. Your teen will quickly come to understand how hard they had to work to earn their first cheque. They might think twice before wasting money in future or be inspired to learn about how to save. Some quick calculations will help them discover how much they might need to work before they can earn the new pair of shoes they’ve been coveting. Perhaps they want to start saving for college or university or to travel after high school. This is a perfect teaching opportunity for parents. Sit down with your child and give them a lesson in managing their money. How much should they save? How much can they spend? Make sure they open a bank account and get a debit card. Teach them financial responsibility. Let them pay for certain things so they can feel proud of what they were able to buy.

Confidence: There’s nothing like being recognized for a job well done to boost a teen’s self esteem. Knowing they worked hard, did a good job and were recognized can make a teenager feel proud and accomplished. They will begin to learn about what they are good at and what skills need to be improved. By doing certain jobs, they will learn about themselves—their likes and dislikes. They will over time grow into themselves, mature and understand who they are and what they want in life.

In short, aside from having less time to lounge around on the couch during the summer, there is very little downside to encouraging your teenager to look for a job this summer. Though working might have its challenges, your teen will definitely have earned a sense of accomplishment by the time school starts again in September.

April 20th, 2018

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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Fun Things to Do in Toronto This April

As another winter transitions into spring, the occasional snow squall drops in to remind Torontonians they live in The Great White North. Many years have passed since the army was called in to dig out the city. Though much of Canada has mostly forgotten Toronto’s inability to survive a snow storm, Ontarians just up Highway 400 aren’t quite sure if “The 6ix” even experiences winter any more.

Winters vary in intensity, and sometimes it seems Mother Nature skips spring in Toronto, and transitions right into summer. Regardless of the weather, the Greater Toronto Area seems to wake from a long slumber in the spring, and there are many great events to see, and places to go.

If you need help shaking off the winter blahs, here are ten GTA experiences you’ll want to be a part of.

Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener

Most Torontonians would love to watch the Maple Leafs compete in the NHL playoffs each spring, yet fate hasn’t been kind to “The Buds” for many years. Catching the Blue Jays in their season debut in the Rogers Centre gives the city new hope, excitement and optimism. In April, hot dogs taste their juiciest, baseball bats sound their loudest and mini donuts smell their sweetest. OK, Blue Jays, let’s play ball!

Hot Docs Film Festival

Though it lacks the star power of the Toronto International Film Festival in the fall, the Hot Docs Film Festival brings great documentaries to Canada’s largest city. From late April, to early May, reality film makers from around the world descend on Toronto to promote their productions. The Annex region of Toronto plays host to films on topics like:

  • Culture & Creativity
  • Stories from Around the World
  • People and Perspectives
  • Ideas and Issues

These topics leave a lot to the imagination, though the films are real, the crowds are real, and rookie filmmakers are hopeful Hot Docs will launch their career skyward. Spring may have sprung, though Torontonians do like to spend time in dark theatres!

Other Toronto spring film festivals include:

  • TIFF Kids Film Festival
  • Inside Out Film Festival
  • Canadian Film Fest
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Running and Climbing

For Torontonians and tourists who need to get moving in spring, there are lots of opportunities to get off the couch, and raise your heart rate:

  • Good Life Marathon – This challenging run is on May 1st, is a qualifier for the Boston Marathoners and starts in Nathan Phillips Square
  • CN Tower Climb – On April 16th, hordes of charitable Torontonians run up 1,776 steps in support of the World Wildlife Fund. Teams and individuals
  • Harry Rosen Spring Runoff – Early April brings this run in support of the fight against prostate cancer. 5k and 8k runs for all ages

Just as dogs, bears and cats shed their winter coats in the spring, many Torontonians join these events, or take to the streets to walk, jog, cycle and run right past the gym they joined in January.

A Food Festival for Every Palate

To build enough energy to participate in the fitness challenges above, you need fuel right? Toronto offers a broad spectrum of global cuisine year round, and in the spring there are food festivals including:

  • The Raw and Vegan Festival – Or stay home and have a salad
  • Curry Fest – Probably best after the CN Tower Climb, not before
  • Toronto Life’s Best Restaurants Event – 15 top restaurants, showcasing their wares
  • Feast on St. Clair – Get your eat on at multiple purveyors of food

There are a number of events showcasing adult beverages. This is a family blog, so we’ll stick to delicious eats here.

Bursting into Bloom in T-Dot

Every year’s first blooms depend on when Mother Nature is ready to bring flowers to Toronto parks, however when it’s time, you’ll find them exploding into view here:

  • Casa Loma
  • Toronto Botanical Gardens
  • High Park Hillside Gardens
  • Spadina Museum
  • High Park cherry trees
  • Hopefully, your back yard

Torontonians love their gardens, and not just when Frankie Flowers is in town. April showers, some topsoil and some hard work in mid-to late Mays should restore the grey and brown city to match the colours in the vibrant new Toronto sign.

The DVP Isn’t the Only Zoo in Toronto!

Though the Toronto Zoo is famous for its baby pandas, there are many places around the city to spot some of our fine furry friends in the spring:

  • High Park Zoo
  • Reptilia (what says spring better than lizards?)
  • Brooks Farm
  • Far Enough Farm
  • Riverdale Farm
  • Pingle’s Farm Market

If you’ve enjoyed getting out of the city for your maple syrup fix, and plan to spend some quality time in the city, here are some other events you should consider:

  • Doors Open Toronto
  • Fashion Week
  • Toronto Music Week
  • Toronto Spring Bike Show
  • Toronto Spring Fishing Show
  • The Spring Boat, RV, and Motorcycle Shows

If you’re still stuck for ideas on things to do in Toronto this spring, you just haven’t paid attention. The warm weather is on the way, so if you have some time on your hands, do some spring cleaning around your house, or stroll Toronto’s streets and enjoy the rebirth of our city!

April 9th, 2018

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Uncategorised

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Seven Tips To Help You Get Better At Math

Math is an important skill. You don’t have to be a mathematician to need it. It’s important when you’re buying something at the store or even baking something in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, it can also be a difficult subject to learn—especially as you progress in school and the curriculum gets more complex.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There are ways you can improve your math abilities. If it’s not your favourite subject, don’t despair.[/pullquote]

1. Try not to use a calculator. Rely on your own abilities to solve simple addition, subtraction and multiplication problems. Whether you’re figuring out how much to tip at a restaurant or calculating how much change to get back when you buy ice cream, try to do the math in your head.

This will give your brain the exercise it needs to figure out math problems more easily and on a routine basis. Try not to turn to a calculator unless you’re really stuck.

2. Study smarter. Turn off all distractions. That includes your phone, music and the TV. Take some time to concentrate. And do it at a time that’s best for you—not when you’re tired, angry or sick. Make sure to take good notes in class.

When you’re studying, take the time to review your notes. Do a little bit at a time and take breaks. Eventually you’ll get all your work done well and on schedule.

3. Speak to your parents. If you’re frustrated with math or your grades are slipping, speak to your parents. Maybe they can speak to your teacher about some potential interventions that can help you succeed.

Maybe you need more time to do your homework or complete tests. Maybe there’s a math specialist at your school that has time to help. Or maybe making your parents aware will ensure they take time to help you with your work Either way, speaking openly with your parents is a great first step to succeeding in math.

4. Hire a tutor. Once you’ve spoken to your parents, they might suggest this option themselves. This is a great way to get help with homework during the school year, and to keep up with your math abilities during the summer when your brain tends to want to shut off. Rather than fall behind, stay on top of your math work.

There are so many tutoring options that can help you succeed. Do you want a tutor that comes to your house? Do you want to work in a group setting at a tutoring centre? Think about your goals, needs, budget and preferences and do some research. Find an option that suits your needs. Then stick with your tutor no matter the time of year.

5. Go online. There are lots of math apps that help make math fun. These online tools are interactive and easy to use. You can even pick your age, level and the type of math you’d like to practice.

Whether you like word problems, fractions or calculus, there’s an app for that. Go online and search for the highest-rated apps. Speak to your teacher for his or her recommendations. There are lots of options out there. Once you’ve found a program you like, spend even a few minutes a day playing math games online. Even your friends will want to play.

6. Get a job. Whether you work at a retail store, a bakery or restaurant, any of these jobs will have you doing math in your head in no time. These jobs require you to make quick calculations on the fly. Even if you begin slowly and feel rusty, it will quickly start to feel second nature.

Practice makes perfect and that’s the same for math. Why not take on a part-time job or summer job that puts you in a position to practice math while earning money, too.

7. Don’t give up. You might be frustrated at times. It might be hard. You might even want to drop math altogether and never look at a number again. Unfortunately, this isn’t practical or realistic as you will need math every day of your life.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]With focus, persistence and determination, you will get better and math will start to come more easily. If you quit, you’ll never find out how much easier it can become.[/pullquote]


October 20th, 2017

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Technology

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Investing Money for Beginners

You might be the kind of person who breaks into a cold sweat when you have to deal with money. The subject can definitely make people anxious. But as you grow up, it’s important to know how to manage your money and how to make it grow. That’s right: it might be time to start thinking about investing your money.

So how do you begin if you’re a beginner?

First, you’ve got to have money to invest. Do you have a part-time job? Have you been saving money in a bank account? If not, it’s never too late to start. Think about what you can do to earn money and start saving up to invest part of whatever you earn.

In the meantime, you can try investing with fantasy money. Create a virtual trading account and make real stock market trades with the equivalent of Monopoly money. Start buying and selling stocks you like. See whether it goes up or down. Make some trades or hold onto your stock. Experiment and have fun. In the process, you’ll learn about the stock market first hand before you actually invest your own money.

Join the Economics Club at school. This is a great way to learn about investing. Often there are even stock market competitions. You’ll be able to work individually or as a group under the wing of your economics teacher. If there isn’t a club, enroll in an economics class in school. You’ll learn so much in a semester and be prepared to understand the stock market and the basics of how to invest. You might even be inspired to start your own economics club with your classmates.

This might also be a great time to start reading books about investing or doing some research on your own. You don’t even have to start with a text book. There are biographies on some of the biggest success stories and the biggest scams to hit Wall Street. There are also classic books about investing, like The Wealthy Barber and Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis. While you’re at it, why not have a movie night and catch up on films about investing. There’s always a lesson learned from watching classics like Boiler RoomThe Wolf of Wall Street and Wall Street. There are also lots of documentaries that are entertaining, informative and educational.

When you’re ready to invest your money, make an appointment at the bank. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Talk to an investment advisor[/pullquote]

about your options. How much would you like to invest? What would you like to save? What are your long-term goals? How much risk are you willing to take? Your advisor will go over the options and help you pick an investment opportunity that matches your comfort level. Bring a parent or advisor along so they can understand your goals and see how you’re managing your money. If they have experience in this area, they will be an asset as you start to invest.

You don’t have to be a day trader, constantly buying and selling stocks, to invest. Some stocks are safer bets than others, especially if you’re willing let your money grow long-term. Your investment advisor or parent will probably tell you all about this strategy. You might even want to consider an index fund, which means you’re investing in several stocks that are pegged to increase over time. It’s less risky and more of a sure bet, but if you really want to try your hand at the market, this might not be the opportunity you’re looking for.

Have you considered using an app that helps pick and trade stocks for you? Go to the app store and download a “robo” investing app. These automated investments make trades for you based on your goals. Follow along on your smartphone and see how you do. These apps also require low minimum purchases, so this is a great way to start investing some of your money.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Remember, there will always be dips in the stock market, so hang in there and don’t rush to sell at the first sign of trouble. Traders who do that often lose money over time.[/pullquote]

Investing money can be fun. Learning how to manage yours is an critical life skill as you get older and earn a salary. You’re never too young to show an interest in investing.

October 10th, 2017

Posted In: Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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