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While most scholarships are awarded for feats in athletics or academics, Volunteer Spirit Scholarships are awarded to students who have accomplished a different kind of achievement - going above and beyond to give back to our communities.
These scholarships were created by the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) last year in celebration of its 40th anniversary to help promote philanthropy and volunteerism in our communities, which is exactly what the COF is all about.
In order to accomplish this, the foundation formed a separate $40,000 endowment fund for each municipality in the region - Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country.
When an endowment fund is created, the capital is never touched, and the interest earned is what is distributed. This means that the fund keeps giving back year after year and never runs out.
Four Volunteer Spirit Scholarships of $1,500 each will be given out to four students across the Central Okanagan this year. Do you or someone you know love to give back to the community? Do you spend your free time volunteering and finding ways to help others? If so, you may be eligible!
The deadline to apply is March 1st, so don’t wait! You can learn more about the scholarship and how to apply here.
Now, prepare to be inspired, because here is a little information about last year’s winners:
Justice Neyedli was awarded the Peachland Volunteer Spirit Scholarship by the Central Okanagan Foundation last year due to his work with several volunteer organizations, including the Peachland Ambassador Society, West Kelowna Ambassador Society and Peachland Chamber of Commerce.
Neyedli feels that it’s important to be a positive presence in the community, and is inspired by the family and friends who stand by him. He now studies film at the InFocus Film School in Vancouver.
Awantika Mittal has been volunteering for years, and in too many ways to sum up in this article. In India, she helped build schools and tutor students, volunteered at the Special Olympics, was president of her University’s “Prakriti” club, and volunteered at a cow shelter. In Kelowna, Mittal has been involved with United Way, the Kelowna General Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Blood Services and is also very involved in volunteer events at UBCO.
Mittal is inspired by her parents, who have taught her ‘to have a good heart before everything’. This scholarship is helping fund Mittal’s dream of attending medical school and becoming a neurosurgeon.
Wyatt Slatterly learned at a young age how important it is to give back to the community. He has been volunteering at the YMCA for years, as well as organizations like Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Kelowna General Hospital, the Society for the Arts in Dementia Care and SwimAbility.
Slatterly plans to contribute 1000 more volunteer hours in the next five years, and is using his scholarship toward his science degree at UBCO as he plans to medical school one day.
Anne-Sophie Beaudoir loves being active and helping others in the community to do the same. She does this by volunteering at organizations that help people with disabilities, like the Vernon Special Olympics, Connect Communities in Lake Country and the Community Recreational Initiatives Society.
Beaudoir plans to continue to volunteer with organizations like Pacific Sport, Canucks Autism and People in Motion, and is studying human kinetics in hopes of one day becoming an occupational therapist.
Serena Slonowski has also been volunteering for several years, and has been involved with everything from Girl Guides and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to helping feed the homeless and organizing events at her school. She also volunteered at a nursing home in Winnipeg for several years, and now volunteers at the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Center’s SwimAbility program.
Serena plans to continue volunteering while studying Biology at UBCO as she works to become a forensic scientist.
Scholarships not only help hard working students pay for costly post-secondary schooling, but they are a form of recognition for the amazing work that the youth in our community can do. Congratulations to all of last year’s winners, and good luck to all those applying this year!
If you think you have what it takes, learn more and apply here before March 1st, 2018.
Community Foundations are charitable organizations dedicated to improving communities in specific geographical areas. Central Okanagan Foundation does this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create endowment funds and using the investment income to make grants.
The Central Okanagan Foundation supports registered charities within the Central Okanagan Region. This encompasses the District of Lake Country, City of Kelowna, City of West Kelowna, and District of Peachland.
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