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Concordia grad helps uplift students in foster care with $25,000 gift

‘Somebody out there does care about you,’ says Campaign for Concordia donor
March 24, 2022
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By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

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A generous gift to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now will provide support to undergraduate students at the university.

The $25,000 donation — which will aid five students over five years — was made anonymously by a graduate. The new Youth in Care Bursary will support students who grew up in foster care or the child welfare system.

According to a 2019 Maclean's article, “[no] official government body tracks these kids once they become adults, but academic research has overwhelmingly shown that they have significantly compromised life outcomes compared to peers who were not involved in care.”

Improving post-secondary education rates has long been touted as a method to break the cycle. The donor responsible for the Youth in Care initiative at Concordia knows this all too well.

“I worked for 40 years as a community nurse and, trust me, you see a lot over that time. Towards the end of my career I worked at a high school. There were two kids who were foster kids in my time there. One used to come into the health office to ask for a hug. She would say, ‘Nobody ever hugs me.’ Both her parents were dead — her older sister was incarcerated.

“So every week, she would come in and get her hug. And those are the differences you make in people’s lives.”

That’s what the Youth in Care Bursary is all about, adds the donor. “I want whoever is awarded the bursary to know that not only is it a hug — it is also a boost in confidence. Somebody out there does care about you. You may not think anyone cares, but somebody cares and has your back. I want this financial support to inspire these students to do great things.”

The donor has been particularly affected by their work with teenagers, both as a health-care provider and a volunteer. It’s a critical age group, they note, with many in the child welfare system still falling through the cracks.

“Watching them pursue their dreams, talking to them about their hopes for the future and giving them a nudge in the right direction — that’s what I find so rewarding about working with teenagers. And then you see them accomplish amazing things and you realize what kind of impact you can have.”

The gift to fund the Youth in Care Bursary dovetails with several others made to the Campaign for Concordia recently that address underserved cohorts of students. These include the Pamela Badour Memorial Bursary for single-parent students and a six-figure gift to help Concordia students who are residents of On Our Own, a non-profit that provides assistance to young parents in need.

Ultimately, the donor of the Youth in Care Bursary says, the goal of the support is to help recipients find their place and succeed.  “I would like to see them graduate and earn their degrees. And I would like to see them making a mark and contributing to society in a meaningful, fulfilling way. That’s my hope.”

Help the next generation of leaders succeed by giving to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now.



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