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Student emergency fund saves the day for one SAIT student

"The I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund changed my life. I know it’s a cliché but it really did.” Joey Sacrey, 32, leans forward and smiles a big smile. He is eager to share his story publicly, even though people who receive help from the fund are entitled to anonymity.

“If it wasn’t for the help I received from SAIT, there’s no way I would have finished my studies. I was making such good progress until I ran out of money for rent and food.” He reiterates, “It changed my life!” 

Sacrey, like many Newfoundlanders, came to Alberta to find a better life. He wasn’t great in school back home but he was technically minded and easily found employment with a Calgary parking management company maintaining their equipment. The pay was okay, says Sacrey, but he realized he didn’t have a future there.

He was inspired by a friend to investigate SAIT’s Non‑Destructive Testing (NDT) program. It teaches analysis of materials for weakness without causing damage, a process often employed in the pipeline industry. Sacrey attended an information session and was so impressed that he applied and was accepted to a six‑month fast‑track NDT course; but things did not go well at first. 

“It was an online course and there was a ton of work. I really didn’t know how to study. There was so much information and I started panicking. I couldn’t handle all the assignments. I went to SAIT’s Lamb Learner Success Centre for help.”

Solutions and Advice

He met with an Accessibility Advisor who determined he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and was provided the services of an Academic Coach.

“Even back in my hometown I figured I had a learning disability but all they ever told me was to try harder. At SAIT, the advisor and coach gave me solutions and advice. They helped me learn how to study. I started getting Bs and As. It was incredible.”

Sacrey was doing extremely well in school but his financial situation took a turn for the worse.

“I was living on a student loan but, after tuition, there was very little to live on. I stretched things as far as I could but money ran out and I was desperate. I got as much help as I could from my family and then I got a job washing dishes but it was the night shift and my marks dropped again. I had made such progress but it was so disheartening. I had exhausted all my sources of money. I had two months left in the program and I was in danger of failing.”

That’s when the I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund saved the day. Sacrey was interviewed by a Funding Advisor from the Lamb Learner Success Centre who connected him with an I.G. Lewis mentor. Sacrey explained that he needed about $2,500 for rent, the phone bill and food to make it through two months. That’s what he received.

"I can't even put into words how amazing and caring everyone has been. SAIT gave me newfound confidence. As soon as I'm able to, I too will donate," says Sacrey.

SAIT Changing Lives - I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund

The I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund is an endowment that helps students through times of personal financial crisis. The fund provides emergency one-time financial support when other means have been exhausted. It can make the difference between a student dropping out and graduating. Below is a thank you message to all supporters of the fund:

SAIT Changing Lives - I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund