Armed with her first bursary, Kayla Downey is set to make her mark in the law enforcement/legal profession.
The 17-year-old started post-secondary studies this week at the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology with the aim of becoming either a probation officer or lawyer. The Malvern resident is enrolled in the university’s criminal justice program.
“I have been exposed to a fair share of senseless violence in my community over the years and that influenced my decision when it came to a career choice,” said Downey who was presented with the financial award last Sunday at The Church of the Nativity.
The Scarborough church has presented 74 bursaries worth close to $69,000 over the last 17 years.
Coming from a family with limited financial resources, Downey says she fully appreciates the church’s support.
“This is the first time I have ever won a bursary or scholarship and this means a lot,” said the Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School graduate. “I have three sisters and two brothers and it’s a strain on my mom to provide for us. That’s why I am so happy to be the recipient of this bursary.”
Church member and educator, Pearl Woods, sponsored the bursary which is worth $1,000.
“Having been a teacher, I know the value of a good education and what it means to encourage our young people to pursue higher education,” said Woods who tutored young people at the church for 13 years up until 2006.
The church also presented backpacks filled with school supplies and books to young people returning to the classroom this week. With the financial support of church members, the initiative was launched three years ago.
“In the first year, backpacks were given to children in our Sunday School and After School programs and parishioners who made requests for family members,” said the church’s Outreach Committee chair, Jewel Cumberbatch. “Last year, the number of requests from students in the After School program increased from seven to 23 and there was also interest from individuals in women and children’s shelters.”
The church presented 50 backpacks this year.
By RON FANFAIR