“As a child I always believed in the kindness of strangers, but with the reality of things going on in my world, I was rudely reminded of how naïve my beliefs were. To be quite honest, I grew up in an environment where people took things. People take and take but rarely give.”

Growing up, Grace watched as her home country slowly slipped into turmoil, chaos, and violence; life was dangerous and any hope of building a future was becoming a distant dream. As conditions worsened, Grace began to see the darkest sides of humanity on a daily basis.  Running out of options, and time, Grace and her family packed up the few pieces of their lives that were still intact and moved to Canada. With fingers crossed they left for the unknown and hoped for the best.

There wasn’t much time to settle in. After seemingly just arriving in Calgary, within a few short years Grace was on her way to graduating high school. The stress of the scariest transition of her life was barely behind her, and she was now facing uncertainty again. As Grace was forced to leave her home country, she had few options available; now, in her new life, she had decisions to make. A career in nursing was calling to her and an offer to study in Saskatchewan was on the table, but after fleeing violence and chaos, Grace’s family was unable to cover the extra costs associated with studying away from home.

Enter the Kermet Archibald and Jacoba Van den Brink Entrance Bursary, which is generously offered by the Van den Brink family through EducationMatters and The Calgary Foundation each year to a student who meets the entrance requirements of a post-secondary program of their choosing, but can’t afford the costs of tuition.  This award provides life-changing opportunities every year for Calgary’s students and to Grace’s pride and astonishment she was selected as one of the recipients.

Grace was on her way to nursing school beginning a different journey of healing where she began to rebuild her belief in humanity. The Van den Brink family’s investment in a complete stranger reminded her of when she believed that people could elevate and support each other with no strings attached, before the world around her descended into chaos.

“I made a personal choice,” says Grace, “ to believe that people can be kind and generous again.”

Grace, now a proud nursing school graduate and working as a registered nurse, says that the actions of the Van den Brink family are a “beacon of inspiration” for her and drives her actions and efforts every day with her patients and their families where she gives, expecting nothing in return, in the hopes of making a brighter future for the people she touches in her daily life.

Investing in students like Grace is a powerful way to make a meaningful difference for both the individual and for society as a whole. EducationMatters is committed to continuing to provide funding for educational enhancements and awards for Calgary’s students, and is proud to help donors invest in our most valuable natural resource – the young minds that will be tomorrow’s leaders.

EducationMatters Scholarship Applications Open March 1, 2019

Each year, generous donors make scholarships and awards available for students in Calgary with a wide variety of educational and career ambitions – such as trades… sciences… arts – there are opportunities for everyone!

Application closing dates vary with most deadlines being May 1 or May 31, 2019

For more information: www.educationmatters.ca/students/