When you make a donation to Brescia, you enable us to help change lives and give women the opportunities they need to become leaders.
But don't just take our word for it. Below are stories of bold Brescia women who have received financial assistance. Read them to discover the difference donor support has made in their lives.
Medicine Hat native Rachel Brown discovered Brescia’s Food and Nutritional Sciences program while researching Western University. A highly motivated and successful leader in her high school and community college science programs, Rachel was immediately inspired by the female leadership and closely knit community that were evident at Brescia. She was also acutely aware of the financial challenges she would face by relocating across Canada to study.
Closely connected to her community, Rachel had planned her education savings based on studying close to home. When considering Brescia, one of the financial challenges and deciding factors she encountered was determining how to afford the unforeseen cost of regular flights to Alberta. Fortunately, Rachel was awarded a generous entrance scholarship to Brescia. Because of this scholarship, Rachel was able to accept her offer knowing that she could afford to return home when she needed to.
In addition to her commitment to return home often, Rachel was also determined to remain involved in extracurricular activities to enhance her classroom learning and character. As a recipient of the Community Leader award, she plans to put the money toward attending the Canadian Association of Food Professionals Conference in Vancouver this spring. While many extracurricular events have an associated cost attached, Rachel believes that “the networking and learning opportunities these events provide are priceless.”
Many talented students like Rachel could not afford to study far from home and participate in extracurricular opportunities without the funding they receive from our generous donors. When asked how her scholarships have impacted her most, Rachel replied, “the motivation that results from my work being recognized. Not only am I motivated to continue leading women to enter science fields, but I’m also motivated to give back to Brescia’s future science leaders. It’s all about giving back.”
Cassie Caranci, 19, is a second-year Brescia student pursuing a double major in Family Studies and Psychology. For the past two years she has also been the recipient of a prestigious scholarship, which recognizes academic excellence, volunteerism, and participation in sports and physical fitness, and covers the cost of her yearly tuition.
Cassie says she made the decision early in high school to focus on earning an entrance scholarship to university. “I was completely committed to coming to university, but I don’t know how I would be here without the support I’ve received. It’s so nice to know that if you work hard, it will pay off in the end,” she says.
Now that she’s here, Cassie is determined to keep meeting the criteria of the continuing scholarship each year, and hopes she won’t be saddled with huge debt when she graduates. She lives at home with her parents to avoid housing costs, and works full-time as a camp counsellor in the summer and part-time at a restaurant during the school year to make enough money to cover her living costs.
When she isn’t studying or working, she can be found volunteering, both on campus – as part of Brescia’s Student Human Ecology Association (SHEA) or as Director of Philanthropy with her sorority – and off campus, including twice raising money to travel with a humanitarian organization to the Dominican Republic to work with abandoned, abused, and orphaned children.
When asked how she manages to accomplish so much and still focus on school, she laughs and shrugs modestly. “I make time to do the things that are important. When I commit to something, I do whatever I can to make sure I follow through on it. I don’t like to do things halfway.”
Lesley Bikos is a 34-year-old married mother of two, a former police officer, and a mature student in her first year at Brescia. Despite leaving home at 15 to live on her own and enduring a traumatising and abusive situation for numerous years, Lesley found her place at Brescia and is determined to become an advocate for women’s rights. “I want to make the world a better place for my children,” she says. “I know it sounds like a lofty goal but I think it’s attainable.”
While pursuing that goal, Lesley says she and her family have had to make sacrifices and “get back to basics.” They survive on a modest budget and Lesley relies upon student loans and bursaries to make ends meet. “I was really scared coming in as a mature student but it’s such an uplifting environment. Everyone here has been supporting me. You can’t discredit how important it is to have people believe in you.”
Now that she’s found her way to Brescia, Lesley is continuing to set high expectations for herself and says she would love to earn her PhD in sociology in the future. “A donor may never see how a donation can change a person’s life, but it absolutely can. It’s not just a gift to me – it’s a gift to my children as well. My success will mean that they will have the opportunity to also go to university if they choose. It really is a gift that keeps giving.”
Tara Winters, a fourth-year student at Brescia, says financial assistance has not only made it possible for her to attend school, but has given her and her young son a future she had never dreamed was possible. Click here for Tara’s story
As an international student, Di Shen pays more than three times the amount of tuition than local students to attend Brescia and relies on assistance to help offset the cost. Coming to Brescia, she says, has definitely been worth the financial challenges. Click here for Di’s story
Lauren Starr ’04 is a young alumna facing the same challenges as many other recent graduates, juggling a new career, family, and other responsibilities. As a scholarship winner, she also knows how important it is to encourage and reward deserving students so she also makes it a priority to give back to Brescia in any way she can. Click here for Lauren’s story
Jennifer Broxterman ’09 was named the 2010 Sister Mary Lou McKenzie Young Alumnae Award of Merit recipient for her many achievements since graduation. She credits the financial assistance she received while at Brescia with making it possible for her to pursue her dreams. Click here for Jennifer’s story