Ten single parents from B.C. will get a leg up to pursue post-secondary studies this year thanks to Burnaby-born-and-raised businessman and philanthropist Ryan Beedie.
Beedie Luminaries, a scholarship foundation started by Beedie, is granting 10 awards worth up to $40,000 each to single parents facing financial adversity.
The funds can be used towards full-time or part-time studies at any public university, college or trade school in the province, as well as the Native Education College.
The program is being launched to coincide with National Single Parent Day on March 21.
“Single parents face many barriers – whether it’s finding flexible employment, getting child care or paying for tuition if they decide to go back to school,” Beedie said in a news release. “Children in single-parent families in British Columbia have consistently experienced much higher poverty rates. Given this and the additional hardships brought on by the pandemic, we wanted to expand the Beedie Luminaries scholarship program to help provide much-needed support to single parents so they can upgrade their skills and open more doors for themselves and their children.”
Parents looking to apply for the grants need to be able to demonstrate financial need and be referred by one of the scholarship program's community partners: the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Immigrant Services Society of BC, Mom2Mom, Mothers Matter, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the YWCA Metro Vancouver, Family Services of Greater Vancouver or the Minerva Foundation.
One of the people who will be helping select the recipients of the grants knows firsthand the difference they could make.
Ghezal Durrani, the community development coordinator at the YWCA Metro Vancouver, is a single mother of three who put herself through university.
“As a single parent wanting to go back to school, I felt lost and unsupported,” she said in the release. “When you’re working two jobs to pay the bills, it can be hard to not give up on your goals. This scholarship program will make a big difference in helping single parents upgrade their skills, obtain better jobs and build a brighter future for their families.”
Along with financial support of up to $40,000 each, recipients will also be given access to mentors, Stay on Track student coaches, peer support groups and career development resources as well as access to the Beedie Luminaries online community and special events.
For more information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit BeedieLuminaries.ca.
The deadline to apply is April 22 at 9 a.m. Successful applicants will be announced in May.