We Are Canada·Video

Gabriel Lopez hated high school. Now he's battling drop out rates in Quebec

Gabriel Lopez hated high school when he was in it. Now he runs YouthFusion, an ingenious program that keeps troubled teens at school by engaging them in year-long art and science projects.

'My greatest joy is to see kids perform and succeed.'

Gabriel Lopez hated high school. Now he's battling drop out rates in Quebec.

6 years ago
Duration 14:39
YouthFusion is an ingenious program that keeps troubled teens at school by engaging them in year-long art and tech projects

In Quebec, three out of 10 young people reach the age of 20 without a high school diploma.

Gabriel Lopez, 33, hated high school himself, but by the time he turned 25, he formed a charity that keeps thousands of kids from dropping out.

I dream of a Canada with education systems that ensure that all the kids regardless of their background and difficulties, can have access to experiential learning.- Gabriel Lopez

YouthFusion is an ingenious program that keeps troubled teens at school by engaging them in year-long art and science projects, from music to video games, that require a daily time commitment outside of classes. The program is reaching kids all over Quebec, from downtown Montreal to remote northern communities, with the goal of reversing drop-out rates. 

"I dream of a Canada with education systems that ensure that all the kids regardless of their background and difficulties, can have access to experiential learning," says Lopez. "Not just for a day. Throughout the entire school year."

"We need as a society to keep the kids in school because that's how they're going to become more engaged citizens."

Lopez is one of a new generation of passionate change-makers profiled in CBC's new series We Are Canada. Watch the series Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC and online.

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