Grace Sparkes House launches schol­ar­ship on the Burin Penin­sula

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN FAR­RELL

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.”

COLIN FAR­RELL/ TC ME­DIA

Lisa Slaney, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of The Grace Sparkes House an­nounced the de­tail of the schol­ar­ship at an event held Dec.9

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