Thirteen Burnaby residents are recipients of BC Housing Education Awards to 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."
"Since 1994, the BC Housing Education Awards have helped many people from Burnaby to further their education and improve their situations in life," said Harry Bloy, Minister of State for Multiculturalism and MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed. "I have no doubt that these students will go on to be active, engaged members of our community and I wish them nothing but the best moving forward."
"These awards help people reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society," said Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee. "A good education is extremely important, and this program makes it easier for low-income individuals to get one."
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.
Burnaby resident Kelly Sheldon will be using the $750 BC Housing Bursary towards her goal of being a wellness counsellor through Rhodes Wellness College. As a single mom of two sons, one of whom is severely autistic, Kelly hopes to support others in similar situations.
"When my husband left, it came out of the blue and I was devastated," described Kelly. "I have always had the inner resources to support, teach and nurture my children. With help, I found a deeper strength to pull in outer resources, get my life on track and start school. With a wellness counsellor designation, I will have the education to support other people on their journey. I hope to help other parents with autistic kids as I know it can feel like a very lonely and challenging existence. I believe it's something that's needed for families and something that could have made a difference for me."
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 - Ten 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.