Most Winnipeggers have never heard of the “You Can Do It Awards,” but this new initiative has enormous potential to impact the lives of kids living in our most economically – and socially – challenged neighbourhoods.
Here’s how it works: interested donors contribute $295 to create a “You Can Do It Award.” This generous gift is matched by both the Province and The Foundation. The money is invested to earn some capital gains and, in the end, provides a $1,000 scholarship. These scholarships are given to kids in grades 5 through 12, selected according to criteria established by the School Board. Factors considered include: attendance, academic achievement, leadership and volunteerism.
In the first two years of the program, 440 “You Can Do It Awards” have been handed out to students at six inner-city schools. (Most of these award recipients wouldn’t even consider post-secondary education an option without the help of scholarships and bursaries.)
The Awards are held at the Foundation until the students are ready to attend college or university. Younger students have the opportunity to build up their funds over their years at school.
In reviewing the names of the student recipients from June 2011 and June 2012, it is interesting to see that 74 students have now won two awards. This means that The Winnipeg Foundation is holding $2,000 in their names — and counting — a significant contribution to the cost of attending college or university.
I think it is pretty amazing that for $295, anyone can give a deserving, hard-working kid $1,000 toward the cost of their post-secondary education. We all know that “education is a ticket out of poverty” and this program is certainly opening students’ eyes to future possibilities.
We look forward to presenting more awards in the spring of 2013 and watching the program grow. If you’d like to help build hope and opportunity for an inner-city student through the You Can Do It Awards, contact Pat Lilley (email@example.com) at The Winnipeg Foundation.