Barbadian Kelly Edwards applied to York University and the University of Miami to pursue post-secondary studies.
When the Canadian university was the first to accept her, she was not overly concerned even though the Florida weather was appealing.
Edwards’ father resides in the Greater Toronto Area and she considers York’s international business program among the best in the world.
“I am happy to be in Canada and I have settled in nicely into my classes and am enjoying my studies so far,” said the international student, who was one of four recipients of John Rollock Memorial scholarships administered by the Barbados Canada Foundation (BCA).
A graduate of Harrison College who represented Barbados at the 2012 Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., Edwards aspires to be a lawyer.
“That’s a field where you can represent individuals and be a voice for them,” said the former ballet dancer, swimmer and judoka. “I like helping people.”
Michael Bell figured out a few years ago that the kitchen would be his workplace.
“I love cooking,” said Bell, whose favourite dish is rice and peas with baked chicken. “I knew a little while ago what I wanted to do.”
He’s a second-year international student in George Brown College’s culinary management program.
Scholarships were also presented to Dejah Rosemay, who is in Durham College’s development services worker program and Janessa Scantlebury, who is pursuing graduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Scantlebury, 22, intends to become a teacher.
“I have always been drawn to education and children so it’s natural that I would pursue a career that brings the two together,” said the holder of a University of Guelph-Humber early childhood education degree.
Scantlebury was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area to parents of Barbadian heritage. Her father, Rev. Joel Scantlebury, is the pastor at Higher Ground Christian Ministry in Brampton.
The scholarships are each worth $3,000.
A registered charity established in August 2013, the BCA also presented a cheque for $10,000 to the Caribbean SickKids Paediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders Project (CSPCBDP) launched two years ago to assist with the building of health care capacity in Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas by training health care professionals, providing consultation and diagnostic expertise and developing and expanding access to treatment and supportive care.
The donation represents the final instalment of a $50,000 commitment made by the organization in February 2013.
“We have done what we promised and we would now sit down and do some evaluation and then figure out where we go from here with this initiative,” said BCA chair Hugh Graham.
Colin Hennigar, the SickKids Foundation associate director with responsibility for major gifts, said the BCA has led the way in the community response to help boost the survival rate of Caribbean children with cancer.
“They were one of the first donors and that set the stage for others to come on board,” he said.
SickKids Foundation was seeking to raise $8 million in five years to support the project. Boosted by the enormous Canadian response, that goal will be achieved before the end of the year.
“We are about to reach our target in just two years,” said Hennigar. “That’s an indication that our donors are committed to this initiative. We don’t want them to stop when we get to our target. The groundwork has been laid and we will be moving to another phase. We have already opened telemedicine spaces in Barbados, the Bahamas, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines and there have been 13 case consultations that have allowed doctors in the Caribbean to bring forward cases that they are having some challenges with. That’s where SickKids has added value.”
A key component of the initiative, telemedicine enables Caribbean doctors and trainees to consult with SickKids on specific cases and receive customized educational and training sessions.