The North Island College Foundation needs help from the public to reach its $50,000 goal for the COVID-19 Student Hope Campaign. Photo supplied

The North Island College Foundation needs help from the public to reach its $50,000 goal for the COVID-19 Student Hope Campaign. Photo supplied

North Island College Foundation campaign nears goal

The North Island College Foundation needs help from the public to reach its $50,000 goal for the COVID-19 Student Hope Campaign.

The campaign, which was started to help students reduce the financial barriers caused by the pandemic to give them hope for a brighter future, is only $11,000 away from the finish line.

“We want to support 50 students with a $1,000 bursary each to help pay for college so they can reach their educational, career and life goals,” said Randall Heidt, executive director of the foundation. “COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially challenging for some students who were unable to work or save for their education because of the pandemic.”

Fortunately, the North Island Students’ Union has donated a record $30,000 to the campaign to support students during this important time.

“Supporting learners, while they feel isolated in their home study spaces, means more now than ever. Learners feel the support of their communities and knowing someone else believes in their goals is like wind in their sails,” said Carissa Wilson, NISU organizer – college relations. “Many students are balancing under employment, seeing reduced earnings due to COVID-19, and services like food banks are seeing increased use. These awards help students to focus on their studies and not their bare cupboards.”

Every year, individuals, families, and organizations help about 500 local students, but up to 200 eligible students in need do not receive assistance due to lack of available funds. That number is rising because of COVID-19.

“We are so grateful for NISU’s support, and the support of our donors who have helped us raise about $39,000,” said Heidt. “We are hopeful that community members will be inspired by students supporting students and help us raise the final $11,000. One hundred per cent of every donation will directly support a student in need.”

Last year’s under-supported applicants included single parents, low-income residents, and disadvantaged youth. With student applications already being accepted online until April 27 at foundation.nic.bc.ca/students, the deadline to receive additional funding into this year’s awards program is fast approaching.

“In addition to the tragic loss of lives and the immediate financial strain the pandemic has caused, there is also a potential long-term impact to the economy,” Heidt said. “Our communities cannot afford a gap in an educated and skilled workforce that COVID-19 threatens to create.”

To watch inspiring videos from students, or to donate, visit bit.ly/3dPwoBp.

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