Ms. Luz Bascuñán, Education Advocate, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

Ms. Luz Bascuñán, Education Advocate at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society (CCAS) of Toronto was honoured at the "10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” ceremony in Toronto on November 21, 2007. The honourees represent a highly educated, fast growing demographic. A million strong and now Canada’s third largest minority, Hispanic influence is on the rise.

Since 1998, Ms. Bascuñán has been CCAS's Education Advocate; she is responsible for the Society’s education strategy and advocates for children’s rights to education. CCAS is the only Children’s Aid Society in Canada that employs a full-time child education specialist who collaborates with students, families, schools, boards and social workers to address the education needs of children in care. Ms. Bascunan creates education plans for high-risk children, provides expert advice to case workers and liaises with school and faculty of education officials to create an understanding of the unique needs and challenges of children in care. The goal is to reduce barriers to achieving educational success. Ms. Bascunan developed an Education Resource Guide that is used by professionals in school boards and Children’s Aid Societies across the province, and is now compiling a guide directed at youth in care, which will help to empower them in planning their own educational futures. She is also involved with advising the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies on the development of a provincial model for education issues and children in care.

Ms. Bascuñán graduated as a teacher from the University of Chile; she received a Master of Arts and pursued doctoral studies in education at the University of Toronto. During her 35-year career in education, Ms. Bascuñán taught in Chile and Canada; developed educational programs and conducted education research. Her work has been published in professional and academic publications. Between 1990-97 she was elected—for three consecutive periods—public school trustee for the Toronto Board of Education, becoming the first Latin American elected to public office in Canada.

The "10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” were chosen from more than 40 nominations submitted from across the country using a Dancing with the Stars-style judging process. The original pool was narrowed to twenty finalists by Nicholas Keung of the Toronto Star, Marina Jimenez of the Globe & Mail, the CBC’s Teddy Katz, Norman Morris of Canadian Business, OMNI TV’s Jenny Celly, and Carlo Dade, Executive Director of Ottawa think tank FOCAL. On November 21, the 440 people in attendance also ranked the finalists and their votes were combined with those of the judges to determine the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians 2007.

NOTE: The Hope for Children Foundation, which serves the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, provides funding for the agency's Education Adovcacy program.

Contact:

Contact: Anne Rappé
Manager, Communications
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Tel. 416-395-1506
Email: a.rappe@torontoccas.org