Two Abbotsford residents are recipients of BC Housing Education Awards that will help them further their education, achieve their goals and improve their lives.
"The BC Housing Education Awards provide financial support for British Columbians working towards their academic goals," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing. "This year's award recipients are creating opportunities for themselves and the provincial government is proud to contribute to their future success."
"Education is a proven avenue for people to improve their livelihoods," said Michael de Jong, Minister of Health and MLA for Abbotsford West. "I hope these students will go on to accomplish great things as a result of their education."
"I would like to applaud these individuals for making a decision to pursue an education despite, in some cases, many obstacles," said John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford South. "I wish them all the best in their studies and in their future careers."
"All of Abbotsford should be proud of these residents," said Randy Hawes, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. "They will undoubtedly go on to become outstanding members of our community. Their commitment to improving their lives through dedication and hard work is something we should all aspire to."
Anyone in British Columbia who is living in subsidized housing, or receiving rent subsidies through BC Housing's Rental Assistance Program, is eligible to apply for the 98 bursaries and awards. The funds can be put towards tuition or other educational expenses such as books or supplies.
For Abbotsford resident Jessica Gregoire, the $750 BC Housing Bursary Award will assist her as she pursues her registered care aide diploma at the University of the Fraser Valley while working towards her ultimate goal of becoming a registered nurse.
"My life has been far from typical. After growing up in a religious community, my husband and I made the bold decision to leave everything we ever knew and start a new life," Jessica explained. "Dormant dreams of getting an education awoke within me. I wanted to become a nurse, like my grandmother, to help people and comfort the sick. At times, it's overwhelming to be both a mother of four and a full-time student. But when I kiss my children goodnight, I remember it's for them I push on. I hope I can inspire them to know that nothing has to keep them from their dreams."
Applicants submitted a personal statement describing their educational and personal goals, and challenges they have overcome, as well as letters of reference and academic transcripts. The BC Housing Education Awards Program offers five types of awards and bursaries:
- BC Housing Bursary - 72 bursaries, worth $750 each, to support youth or adults between 17 and 64 to pursue adult basic education, vocational education or post-secondary education on a full- or part-time basis.
- BC Housing Award for Full-Time Studies - 10 awards, worth $1,000 each, to support youth or adults between 17 and 64 pursuing post-secondary or vocational education on a full-time basis.
- Margaret Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award - Margaret Mitchell was a dedicated housing advocate and helped develop the BC Housing's Education Awards Program. This $750 award recognizes a youth graduating from Grade 12 for excellence in academics, sports, the arts or community involvement who will pursue education or vocational training on a full-time basis.
- Minerva Foundation Award for BC Women - There are five $1,000 awards to help Aboriginal women pursue full-time, post-secondary education. This award is designed to help single mothers advance their education, assist women with children fleeing abusive relationships, retrain mature women returning to the workforce, advance women in non-traditional fields of study, and support women with disabilities to overcome educational barriers.
- The Kinloch Education Award for women - 10 awards at $1,000 each are awarded to women who may have overcome significant barriers in their lives which hindered their educational opportunities and who are now pursuing post-secondary education on a full- or part-time basis.
Over the last decade, the Province has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 95,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
Visit www.bchousing.org to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.