Frequently Asked Questions
1) What kind of volunteering counts as “commitment to community”?
- There is no requirement in terms of hours of volunteerism. We do consider the “depth” of involvement/investment. For example, some applicants have cleared a driveway once and attended a run to distribute water whereas others have made weekly visits to Salem Home or coached a team
- The essays that we received from those applicants that were more deeply involved better reflected their understanding of community and their lessons learned through those experiences were more clearly articulated than the ones submitted by students that had only been involved in occasional volunteerism
- Applicant contributions will vary annually. We are working to improve the application so as to better capture that understanding and those stories
2) Where can I find opportunities for volunteering in the community?
- Click here to have a look at examples of what previous recipients have done to get involved
- Consider what kinds of activities you like to do, what kinds of community places are of interest to you, in what ways you would like to become more active, how much time you have available to give, and who you already know that needs help
- Contact groups, teams, organizations and places that made your list of top picks
- Ask about opportunities for getting involved and highlight your skills so that people have a good sense of where to place you within their work
- It’s also possible to be involved through places familiar to you such as school, church, and sports teams
- You may have a project idea of your own that you’d like to get off the ground which helps those around you
3) What if I experience barriers to volunteering?
- Our scholarships committee will not count this against you. In the optional essay, please inform us what barriers you face when planning or attempting to volunteer and how you are working through them
- Here are some examples of barriers to volunteering:
- Perhaps you live too far from where you’d like to volunteer and you don’t have a reliable ride
- Maybe you look after siblings at home while your parents work evenings
- You’re new to the community and you don’t have many connections just yet
- Working is a must if you are to save for school, a vehicle or to reach other goals
- Disability or health issues limit your energy and options for volunteering
- Here are suggestions for addressing those barriers so that you can still be involved in your community:
- Let your desired place of voluntarism know that getting a ride is a challenge; they may be able to help you to arrange a shared ride. Perhaps possible to volunteer somewhere closer to home that you can reach without a ride.
- Volunteer when possible and let us know that this is the extent of your availability given your required responsibilities
- It takes time to build a social network. Inquire about opportunities through a local resource such as Regional Connections
- Perhaps you can use your school lunch hours to be involved within your school community rather than off-site and during evenings or weekends
- Work from a capabilities approach of what you can do to apply your talents. Reach out to organizations that are of interest to you and let them know your parameters for work: e.g. standing for short periods of time, space must be wheelchair accessible, you require a scent-free environment, flexibility is important, an aide will accompany you, etc. Negotiate responsibilities that allow you to succeed
4) What are barriers to education?
- Our scholarships committee wants to know which challenges you face in pursuing post-secondary education. In the optional essay, please inform us of these barriers as best you can so that we can take this into account when determining recipients. Your responses are confidential and will not be shared
- Anything that you think of as limiting your options to pursue post-secondary education is a barrier
- Examples of barriers include:
- Cost to attend a program not available locally is more than you can afford
- Ineligibility for student loans – public and/or private
- Parents unable or unwilling to provide monetary support towards education
- Personal health interferes with education (anxiety, eating disorder, depression, disability)
- Family circumstances make it difficult to focus on education (separation, addiction, abuse, loss, homelessness)
5) Who should I ask to provide a reference for me?
- The best letters of reference come from people that know and understand an applicant’s commitment to community or academic performance. We recommend that you ask someone who will provide a positive appraisal of your character or volunteer history. Share with them the application information as this can help them in drafting something customized to this particular award, giving them plenty of time before the deadline.
6) How are award recipients selected?
- Our Scholarship Committee is looking to meet applicants who have demonstrated commitment to their community, achievement in education and/or a strong capacity for leadership
- Strong applications describe lessons learned through volunteering
- Tell us how earning this scholarship would help you to overcome obstacles and change your life for the better
7) When can I expect to find out if I have been selected as a recipient?
- Our administrative staff will review your application for completeness and send you a confirmation email in early March
- Our Scholarships Committee will review your application and interview finalists before the end of March
- Final decisions will be made by April 30 and communicated by June 30
8) What are my next steps if I am selected as a recipient?
If you are selected as a recipient, we will require that you provide us with a copy of your letter of acceptance:
- If entering post-secondary studies, applicant must apply for admission to their prospective post-secondary institution
- If applicant is selected as a recipient, they must then provide this letter of acceptance from their prospective post-secondary institution to the office once it is available (by May 31)
- Award cannot be confirmed until this has been received
- For current post-secondary students, this letter is not necessary unless you are switching schools
Updated December 12, 2017