On the fourth Monday morning of each month from September to June, a group of women gather in Davis Bay to exchange news over coffee, attend a meeting and listen to a speaker. Occasionally, this group also changes lives.
On Oct. 23 at 10 a.m., the group, formally known as the Canadian Federation of University Women-Sunshine Coast, will have its Bursary Society’s AGM, complete with a financial report detailing the thousands of dollars raised for women on the Coast who are endeavouring to improve their education and change their lives.
Eight women received bursaries recently from the Society and their own words best describe the impact: “This bursary has helped lift an immense financial burden from my shoulders … and is a great privilege and honour,” said one recipient.
Bursary Society chair Patricia Minnes, who contacted each recipient by phone to advise them of their award, said that a number were “brought to tears” by the news. “You know it’s a great cause, but hearing of the positive impact on the lives of the women and their futures was overwhelming,” Minnes said.
The CFUW-SC Bursary Society awarded $15,000, including a $2,000 bursary to Capilano University. In terms of selection criteria, women must be over the age of 21, living on the Sunshine Coast, enrolled in a program and able to exhibit a degree of financial need of a bursary. Award winners have included dental hygienists, educators and a Justice Institute enrollee, with a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. However diverse, the common thread among recipients is that of a desire to enrich their lives (and often, those of their families) by improved training and/or education, despite the obstacles they face of time, distance and money.
The AGM will be held at St. John’s United Church (lower level). Afterward, the Canadian University Women-Sunshine Coast will host a panel discussion on the challenges facing Sunshine Coast women in the pursuit of education. Panelists will include: Sechelt Nation director Lenora Joe, Capilano University’s Julia Denholm, and Open Door Group employment facilitator Laura Smit. All are welcome.
– Submitted by Beverley McEwan