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A difficult situation transformed

over the shoulder shot of a laptop with a video call on between two people

As Dylan Tolhurst approached the final semester of his Library Information Technology program things were looking great — until the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything.

Prior to the pandemic, Tolhurst worked for the SAIT Interfaith Centre, had founded a Little Free Library in Heritage Hall and had just completed his three-week practicum. He was enjoying the campus community lifestyle, juggling responsibilities and succeeding in his studies.

“I love being around others and loved being at SAIT,” Tolhurst explains. “The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted that lifestyle and sense of community. I also had several medical appointments cancelled as well as my employment prospects.”

It wasn’t just the sense of community at SAIT that Tolhurst missed.

“I don’t do very well in online school. My lifestyle of leaving home to go to school and focus on my studies became impossible, and I nearly failed two courses.”

On top of the disruption to his education, Tolhurst was unable to work. Losing his income meant he had to limit his grocery purchases and had to stretch his supplies to last.

“When you’re hungry it’s difficult to think about anything but food and how you’re going to get something to eat,” he adds.

Tolhurst’s situation transformed dramatically when he received financial support through SAIT’s I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund.

“I felt immense relief because I could afford food again and had the energy to complete my assignments,” recalls Tolhurst.

The support he received went towards everyday expenses as well as tuition for his final spring class. “This support makes sure that I graduate on time and don’t have to repeat courses. This is an opportunity that will produce dividends in my life a thousand-fold and more due to its essential timing.”

It’s because of support from SAIT’s donors that students like Tolhurst have the opportunity to achieve success.

Find out how you can make a difference at sait.ca/donors/ways-to-give.

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