A message from an I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund mentor
Paul Norris - SAIT Academic Chair, Architectural Technologies
As a mentor for the I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund, I meet with students. I see where your donations go and how they transform lives. I see the looks of relief on students’ faces when I tell them they have been approved for assistance. And my favourite part of the job is hearing those “where are they now” stories that demonstrate how your donations have helped students succeed.
Bennett* was an Architectural Technologies student who had no family to support him. He couldn’t afford to buy the textbooks he needed, his grades were slipping and he was in danger of leaving school. Bennett received help from the fund and this past June he walked across the stage as a successful SAIT graduate. He has started a new job in his field and he will soon help his wife begin her quest for an education degree.
Your donation helped Oliver, an orphan from Africa who spent his teenage years in a prisoner of war camp. He eventually immigrated to Canada and worked hard to get into SAIT. As a student he found himself in dire financial difficulty. The I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund provided assistance including a gift card so he could buy groceries. Oliver told me “it was the greatest gift I ever received.” Oliver is now in the workforce and has plans to continue his apprenticeship training at SAIT. He is no longer an I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund recipient — he is a donor. When he received his first paycheque, Oliver made a donation back to SAIT.
Kaitlyn is a mature student in the School of Business. She was abandoned by her life partner and lost her job both in the same week. She was left to juggle school plus a mortgage and bills. The I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund helped Kaitlyn. She recently wrote me a thank you note:
Dear Paul: Since we met things are back on track. I got the job I was telling you about and it’s amazing! It includes a car and cellphone allowance. Plus they are willing to work around my school schedule. I can’t begin to tell you how much more pleasant my college experience is, knowing I can breathe again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Students who are helped by the I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund often search for words to express their gratitude. What usually comes out is “thank you, you have no idea how much this means to me.”
On their behalf, I’d like to pass that message on to all donors — thank you.
* To honour the anonymity of the program, recipient names have been changed.