Tracy Rose-Laporte and George Laporte always knew Shane had a bright future -- that their son was a smart, kind person with a good head on his shoulders.
But when Shane was 14, they were worried he wasn't engaging enough with his schoolwork or connecting with his classmates. A lot of the kids around Shane, they said, were getting involved in drugs and alcohol, and school was not a priority for them. They wanted more for their son, and they knew he deserved it.
So when Rose-Laporte heard about the Community Education Development Association, a not-for-profit group that specializes in providing after-school programming to address educational issues, they felt it might be a good fit.
"Shane was resistant at first because he's always like that when he tries new things. I told him to just try it and if he didn't like it, he could quit. But he never quit, and this is his third year going there," Rose-Laporte said.
Shane began with CEDA's pathways to education program in 2009, receiving tutoring and mentorship programming after school. He also started going to sports nights offered by CEDA every Friday.
Laporte said the change in his son was almost immediate.
"He's much more outgoing. He used to be really shy. He's just so much more focused than he used to be. He doesn't quit," Laporte said. "I'm just really proud of him."
The program has been so beneficial to Shane, CEDA offered him a scholarship to the University of Winnipeg's Model School. He's now in his second year there.
In addition, Shane, now 17 and in Grade 12, received a university scholarship from a private donor to study for as long as he wants and whatever discipline he's interested in.
His parents feel so indebted to CEDA, they've started volunteering for the organization. George tutors, mentors and even acts as a chauffeur for kids who don't have a safe ride home. Tracy volunteered for years with CEDA before being hired by the organization to do in-class tutoring.
Sheldon, their 13-year-old son, is now also going to CEDA's after-school programming. Quite simply, it's a Rose-Laporte family affair.
United Way donated more than $400,000 last year to CEDA to support the programs that have benefitted Shane and his family so greatly. This financial support is only part of a larger initiative by United Way to foster stronger communities by encouraging and empowering young people.
Rose-Laporte said the program has meant more to her family than she can possibly express.
"It's just such an incredible organization. The work that they do is just so amazing. Shane just wouldn't have everything he has without them. They've given us so much."