Their paths crossed for the first time at the 2011 Ontario Justice Education Network’s (OJEN) annual conference. Little did Fern Barrett know that she would be the recipient of a David Miller $5,000 scholarship less than a year later.
The David Miller “Success Becomes You” award is presented to an individual whose quest for education was interrupted for various reasons. It was granted last week at the ninth annual Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) awards at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
“The former mayor made a presentation at last year’s OJEN event and after it was done, I approached him and asked him for some career advice,” Barrett, a single mother of two, said. “He was very helpful and encouraging. To be receiving a scholarship in his name now is significant and something I will always cherish.”
A graduate of C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, Barrett spent nearly eight years at TD Bank as a visa service officer before the department was restructured and her position became redundant in 2007. She pursued a one-year Real Estate Law Course at Seneca College and a 12-month Court Support Service program at Durham College before enrolling in Humber College’s Paralegal Education program that explores the theory, procedural and advocacy aspects of legal matters.
“It’s great to be returning to the classroom and to have the financial help needed to see me through the program,” said Barrett who intends to become a lawyer.
Both Barrett and her eldest child, Llevi Barrett-Lee, are enrolled in the same college. The 20-year-old is pursuing Business Administration studies at the Lakeshore campus while his mom will attend classes at the North campus. Her 17-year-old daughter, Khiana, is a Grade 12 student at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute.
Barrett is an active member of Milliken Mills Co-op, serving as the recording secretary. She’s also a CHFT delegate.
The scholarship program is open to residents in CHFT member housing co-ops. Individuals are awarded scholarships based on community involvement in their schools, co-op communities and in a variety of community based organizations.
Close to $850,000 in scholarships have been awarded since the program was established in 2004.
By RON FANFAIR