Grace Sparkes House launches scholarship on the Burin Peninsula
There is now a new support offered to women who have availed of any of the services offered by The Grace Sparkes House.
The transition house has launched The Grace Sparkes House Educational Scholarship. It will provide up to $2,000 annually to support women in their pursuit of a post-secondary education.
“It is a great accomplishment, and it’s progressive in terms of the services that shelters provide not just over the province, but in the country,” said Lisa Slaney, executive director of The Grace Sparkes House, during the launch on Dec. 9 at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre.
“Being able to provide a women with extra supports, not just that one night or one phone call, but being able to provide her with long- term support so that she can reach the goal when she’s ready, when she choices to. It’s a fabulous feeling… it makes it worthwhile that when you do- nate your time and you’re able to see progression and it’s what we’re hearing (is) needed.”
Slaney said the scholarships are designed to help women with the additional costs of attending post secondary.
“It’s not tied into tuition, it’s not tied into books,” she said. “It’s timed into those little things that you need to have whether it’s lunch money, whether it’s transportation, clothing, toiletries, whatever it is. It’s everything that supports that, that there is no funding for.”
In order to apply for the scholarship the individual must be living independently, enrolled in a post-secondary program and have availed of services offered but the house.
“There’s no time limit,” said Slaney. “It could of been 16 years ago, it could have been five minutes ago, through our phone calls, through our outreach (program), through our in house visits or over night stays or our supportive housing.”
Slaney said that news of the scholarship has been well received by people in the com- munity.
The funds used to start the scholarship came from donations from a group of women head by Eileen Tarrant, formerly of Lawn.
Tarrant, along with other women that she met working with Avon, took it upon themselves to raise money for The Grace Sparkes House.
“Myself and a group of our team members started five or six years ago,” said Tarrant. “We wanted to give back to the community for our good fortune, so we choose The Grace Sparkes house as our focus,” she explained.
Through there fundraising efforts the group has raised approximately $12,000 for the house.
“Our main thing that we do is we have a walk every year,” she said. “We don’t get all in a group and do t-shirts because we are so scattered, it is not an organized walk everybody is on their honour and they have a time frame to do the walk in it could be a week.”
Tarrant explained that there are no set rules for the walk other than it be completed.
“It could be a walk around the harbor, or go on the treadmill, however, you can get your mile in,” she said. “Our motto is ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’.”
She added that walkers collect sponsors for the event.
Tarrant, who now makes her home in St. John’s, explained that the group had started with 12 members, but over time has dwindled down.
“The past two years it has just been three of us,” she explained. “We ( just) have to work harder.”
Tarrant is very excited to see the funds raised go towards setting up the scholarship.
“They have done research and they tell us that this is the only shelter in Canada that offers scholarship money for pervious residents,” she said. “That’s very heartwarming, especially this time of year. It makes us very proud and very humbled that so many people can be effected by the efforts of our little group.”
Lisa Slaney, executive director of The Grace Sparkes House announced the detail of the scholarship at an event held Dec.9