Written by Braedon Van Gorkom.
One fall day in a small elementary school library, my third-grade teacher showed me pictures of where she attended university. She passed around inspiring photographs of elegantly designed university buildings. I never dreamed an entire decade later, I would be attending that exact institution - Simon Fraser University.
I tend to be mostly focused on the present. So, when Grade 12 rolled around, so did the whole idea of attending university. I knew I wanted to further my studies, just not what conquering this new horizon would truly entail. Narrowing down which university was simple enough. Choosing to study Earth Science wasn't entirely impossible either. However, paying for tuition was a whole different topic.
I did not believe my eyes when I saw the sheer cost of attending post-secondary education. Tuition, books, housing, food, student fees all add up. It could have been easy for me to lose hope. I questioned if I might have to forget my dream of attending university and settle for mediocrity. Nevertheless, I did not let these obstacles deter me.
Hearing millions of dollars went unclaimed from scholarship organizations, I realized I had a chance. I searched hard, looking high and low for any scholarships or bursaries to help me fuel my dream. I was elated when I finally found the Kin Canada Bursary. As I researched the Kin Canada Club and wrote the application, I felt that I truly found a group caring deeply about community, our country, and the impact the next generation will have on the world.
A few months after completing my application, I was overjoyed to see Kin Canada had granted me a $1000 bursary! Along with many summers' worth of student job savings, I was able to completely pay for my first year at Simon Fraser University!
I have discovered many lessons about hard work, asking for help, and persistence over the past couple of months at SFU. A degree in sciences will certainly not be easy for me, however, it is a challenge worthy of pursuit. Most importantly, I am reminded of the importance of giving and serving the community.
Kin Canada has inspired me to get involved on campus, despite my busy schedule, and give back. I am involved on campus with The Point Church, assisting with the set up of sound equipment for events. I also volunteer at a student support network called Red Frogs. It is a group that aims to provide a positive alternative to alcohol and drug-fuelled parties.
Receiving the Kin Canada Bursary has shown me that I can succeed in whatever I pursue if I put my whole heart into it. I feel that, despite financial obstacles, I have been given the tools that I need to succeed in my educational path. Being given this gift has continued to motivate me to give back to others -- and I intend, as always, to be an engaged member of the Simon Fraser University community.
Since its inception in 1994, $1,096,000 has been awarded to 1096 students across Canada. For more information about the Kin Canada Bursaries program, see kincanada.ca/bursaries.
The amount disbursed in any one year depends on the balance of the Hal Rogers Endowment Fund. We need your support to help ensure young Canadians don’t have to choose between having food to eat and buying textbooks for class. Your contribution can help change a Canadian student’s life forever.
Donate online or contact Christine Stahl by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 800-742-5546 ext. 215 to make a tax-deductible donation.