Making Post-Secondary A Reality

TIMG_1850hrough the generous support of Future Shop, 40 Boys and Girls Clubs youth from across Canada now have the opportunity to pursue their higher education goals as recipients of Future Shop’s Future Generation Scholarships. Two of those youth are our very own BGCBigs Club members, Emanuelle and Sumayyah!

On Saturday, September 27 both Emaunele and Sumayyah – selected based on their outstanding contribution to BGCBigs and our local community, good academic standing, and financial need – were recognized during a special presentation at the 109 Street Future Shop. At the presentation they received the first component of the $5,000 scholarship – a $750 Future Shop gift card to purchase a laptop.

“The Future Shop’s Future Generation program is an amazing opportunity for these students,” says Lyndsey Peters, our Community Programs Facilitator in charge of Rogers Raising the Grade. “When you’re in Grade 10 it’s a critical time to start thinking about post-secondary education. It’s the time when many youth decide whether or not to continue their studies past high school. By awarding these scholarships in Grade 10, our youth now know pursuing post-secondary education is a realistic option.”

One of our amazing Club Volunteers, Tonia Cappellano, volunteered her time to nominate each of the youth. Every Monday and Wednesday, through Rogers Raising the Grade, she worked with Emanuelle, Sumayyah and their peers, assisting with homework, guiding exam preparations, discussing interests and hobbies, and exploring future education and career possibilities. Below are the inspiring letters she wrote.

Emanuelle
IMG_1834Emanuelle is very ambitious and highly motivated. He has set high goals for his future and is enthusiastic towards researching what he needs to do to accomplish these goals. He knows that having a degree from post-secondary will open many doors for him and provide him with better opportunities.

Emanuelle moved to Canada a few years ago from Zimbabwe. Currently, he lives with his mom who has recently been laid off from work. He has a part-time job at McDonalds and his pay usually goes towards groceries for him and his mom. He is aware of the high cost of tuition and knows that if he had to pay it himself, he would have to work additional hours and it would take a significant amount of time to repay his student loans.

One of Emanuelle’s greatest strengths is that he is very conscious of the world around him. Due to past experiences, he has been pressured to worry about things that the rest of his peers have not yet had to think about. For example, he is knowledgeable about student loans and knows how having debt will be a significant setback in the future. Because of this, he is driven to work hard to obtain scholarships and will fully appreciate the value of them. Another consequence of his awareness is that he consistently takes his knowledge and passion for learning and finds a way to apply it in society.  One of his recent career interests is an environmental engineer who deals with water treatment systems. He has explained to me that his interest is based on others who take water for granted; people do not realize the importance of clean water until it isn’t accessible to them.

Additionally, Emanuelle is very curious about the things around him, prompting him to learn and research information. For example, during Rogers Raising the Grade programming, we did an activity in which their assignment was to pick an everyday simple object and break it down into its various parts, analyze the parts and associate them with their specific function. Rather than picking something simple (the example given to them was a ballpoint pen), Emanuelle picked a cellphone and spent a lot of time looking up the various parts of it. Even though he knew how complicated it would be, he was interested in learning about it so he researched until he was able to explain the general parts of a cellphone.

As a result of Emanuelle working part-time during school while also attending RRTG and his other extracurricular activities, he has developed strong time management skills. He manages to study as much as he can during his busy schedule.

I believe that Emanuelle deserves to be awarded the Future Generation Scholarship because it would strongly encourage him to continue on to post-secondary. Rather than having to worry about the loans and debts post-secondary would bring him, he would be able to focus on the advantages and the opportunities it would bring. He is very ambitious and has set high standards for himself. This scholarship would allow him to accomplish the goals he has set and lead him closer to success.

Sumayyah
IMG_1840Although only having met Sumayyah in September 2013, I quickly learned through her positive attitude and upbeat personality that she is passionate about learning and highly motivated. During any activity, whether it is schoolwork, free time, or mentor events, her inquisitiveness prompts her to ask thoughtful questions and conduct research herself if the answer isn’t readily available. It is obvious that she values education – her strong study habits, her positive attitude towards school and learning, and her willingness to take advantage of any opportunity she is presented with are all qualities that differentiate Sumayyah from the her peers.

Sumayyah’s family is from Nigeria. Her parents work a lot and are currently applying to get Visas for her older brothers, a process which is not only time-consuming, but also quite expensive. Her older brother will be starting school at a post-secondary school in September and if the others are successful in joining her family in Canada, it is likely that they will also be attending post-secondary institutions. Being the youngest and the only girl in her family, Sumayyah is aware that by the time it is her turn to attend University, money for tuition and textbooks will be a huge burden for her and her parents. Her parents are very supportive of her schooling and always inquire about her progress in school, but she knows that paying for another child to go to university will not be easy for them. Sumayyah currently holds a part-time job at McDonalds and has picked up additional shifts while school is out for the summer. She is hoping to be able to save what she makes for the future.

Sumayyah’s biggest strengths are her curiosity and the passion she has for learning new things. As a result, she is highly motivated in school. Her passion for learning is evident through her love of reading and her good study habits. In the past, Sumayyah has attended SET; a conference organized by WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology) at the University along with other events held at the University, further demonstrating her curiosity about university and is interested in the STEM field. Despite the fact that she is just in Grade 10, Sumayyah has already started to plan for after high school and has determined some short term goals that will help her reach her bigger goals. Not only does Sumayyah consider what program she should take in University, she also thinks about life afterwards university, things such as what kind of job she can get, if jobs are available, how much additional work needed, etc. I am not certain if Sumayyah has decided yet on a specific career path, but she has brought up possibilities of becoming a nurse, a doctor, and just recently, a chemical engineer.

I feel that Sumayyah is the ideal candidate for the Future Generation Scholarship 2014 because she works hard at everything she does, whether it is at school, in sports, or during extra-curricular activities and is very deserving. She is a very well rounded individual; she enjoys studying and reading on her own, yet her upbeat personality, her kindness, and her love of sports prompt her to spend time with others and make friends. At school, Sumayyah has good study habits and achieves high marks. While planning for the future, she is aware of the challenges that lay ahead and is willing to put in the extra effort to achieve her goals. This scholarship will greatly reduce her stress during her final years of high school and allow her to focus on getting good grades, to focus on exploring future careers and to maintain a positive outlook on school and education.

IMG_1860We are thrilled that these youth have been given the opportunity to further their education and do better. We are so proud of their hard work and dedication to their studies, their families, and their communities.  Congratulations Sumayyah and Emanuelle and thank you Future Shop!

Together with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), Future Shop has been supporting the post-secondary dreams of Boys and Girls Club youth for over 10 years through the provision of much needed scholarships through Future Shop’s Future Leaders scholarship program. Seen as an evolution to this program, the Future Generation program aims to provide young people in Grade 10 with the financial resources they need to achieve their long term education goals. To learn more click here.
 
To learn more about Rogers Raising the Grade click here.

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