Most scholarships are awarded to pay for accredited post secondary courses.

Due to a joint initiative between the BCGEU and CLBC, people being served by CLBC are eligible to apply for a scholarship to support their personal and professional development.

The money can be applied to skills training associated with securing employment, indirect costs such as tools or equipment required to learn a trade, a computer course, an art class, recreational activities or any venture that facilitates self-improvement and quality of life.

The fund was developed based on survey responses from self-advocates, families, service providers and CLBC staff.

Scholarship funds up to $100,000 will be distributed over five years and allocated equally between CLBC’s three regions; North/Interior, Fraser, and Vancouver Coastal/Island. A maximum contribution of $2,500/person will be awarded.

“Those involved in the idea of this innovation wanted something innovative that would really assist the people we serve,” said Stacey Charles.” It was quite a journey in understanding why there are so many barriers and steps to create something as innovative and flexible as this scholarship. I didn’t think it would be this hard but it does go well beyond the scope of traditional scholarships or bursaries which are limited to post-secondary education.”

Initially, Charles said they wanted an external agency to allocate the funds. They went through an extensive consultation process to find someone but ran into some barriers because the scope of the scholarship includes quality of life goals and doesn¹t limit courses accessed through the funds to accredited institutions only. It just didn’t fit for a traditional funds allocator to administer.

“As a result, it was decided that CLBC would administer the funds in year one, and at the same time, continue to explore external administrators,” said Charles.

“Despite how challenging it was to set it up, we knew people would be supportive but were still surprised at how supportive and how well received it was. BCGEU members are very proud of it and not a week goes by when we don¹t get some inquiry about it, mostly from staff across the province.”

 

The first round of successful applicants will receive their scholarships in the spring of 2014. Applications are available on line at the following locations:

* BC Self Advocate Net: www.selfadvocatenet.com

* BC Government Employees Union: www.bcgeu.ca

* Community Living BC: www.communitylivingbc.ca and all CLBC offices