CFUW Saskatchewan Council supports New Beginnings through education grant

Submitted photo. Gerlinde Sarkar, CFUW Saskatchewan Council president, presents a certificate to Jessica Falcon, recipient of the New Beginnings Grant.

Canadian Federation of University Women, Submitted

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Saskatchewan Council established the New Beginnings Grant to assist women in finding a new life path through education. The first of these grants, worth $5000, was formally presented today to Jessica Falcon, a student in the Mental Health & Addictions Counselling Diploma Program, at Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Saskatoon Campus.

Jessica is a resident of Lloydminster. She left high school early and by 21, was caring for five children. She faced domestic violence, addiction issues and living on social assistance as barriers, yet obtained her Adult 12 education. In 2022, she applied for and was accepted into the Sask Polytech Mental Health & Addictions Counselling program. The program is offered through a combination of online and in-person learning.

Jessica cares not only for her own children but has also assumed guardianship of three children of relatives who struggled with addictions and mental health and were unable to provide care. In addition to her family and school responsibilities, she is an active volunteer in Lloydminster.

“I want to show my daughters what it looks like to be a strong Metis woman,” said Jessica in her application letter. “I no longer want to struggle and coast through life; I want to do better by my parents and family and show that there is a better way to life and the reward of education and growth.”

Eligibility for the New Beginnings Grant is open to women with primary financial responsibility for herself and dependents, age 21 or older, having financial need, and being a Saskatchewan resident who has been accepted into an educational program.

The large number of applicants, with their moving stories of overcoming challenges to become students, speaks to the need for such assistance, said CFUW Sask Council chair and Saskatoon Club president Gerlinde Sarkar.

“Unlike many scholarships that are based on academic achievements, including most of those provided by the CFUW clubs and members in Saskatchewan, this grant aims to help a woman create a New Beginning for herself and her family, by overcoming challenges through the power of education.”

CFUW is a non-partisan, self-funded organization with 94 clubs across Canada and over 6,600 members. Since the founding of CFUW in 1919, our mission has been to achieve educational and economic equality and social justice through continuous learning and empowerment. Our vision is that women and girls are educated and empowered to make transformative change in the world. In Saskatchewan, there are CFUW local clubs in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Yorkton and members throughout the province.