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Canada on $6.85 a day

August 25, 2010 permalink

Durham CAS is generously providing funding to a foster girl to allow her to attend university. The amount? $2,500 per year. Hope Marie can figure out how to provide food, shelter clothing, books and tuition on $6.85 per day. Scrooge is an annual subject of CAS promotion. Marie is also working at a grocery store and she is trying to reconnect with her parents. She might have better luck with them.



Jason Liebregts / Metroland
OSHAWA -- The Durham Children's Aid Society recently awarded a bursary to Marie for post secondary education. August 19, 2010

Bursaries help Durham CAS kids attend college, university

DURHAM -- Like thousands of other local students, Marie is packing up to head back to university this fall.

As she prepares for her third year as an English major at Dalhousie University, the 21 year old is stressing about how to cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, groceries and other essentials.

It's a common enough scenario -- but Marie's life to this point has been anything but.

Starting when she was 12, the Oshawa woman was in the care of the Durham Children's Aid Society, shuffling back and forth between foster homes after suffering physical and emotional abuse while living with her parents.

"When I was young, I had a lot of dreams. But as stuff went downhill at home, I started to be more negative. I didn't care about anything," says Marie, who asked that her real name not be used, because she is hoping to reconnect with her parents.

She says the support of foster parents and CAS workers helped her set a goal of attending university and becoming a high school teacher.

Now a bursary from Durham CAS is helping to make post-secondary education a reality.

Marie recently received a $2,500 bursary from the local CAS, to help cover her third year costs.

"I jumped up out of my chair when I found out, I was so excited," she says.

Her bursary is one of 35 being handed out this fall -- a record number for Durham CAS. That number is up from nine bursaries just four years ago.

About half of the bursaries are sponsored by local businesses; Marie's is from Royal Bank. The rest come from donations made to the Durham Children's Aid Foundation.

Durham CAS spokesman Shane Vieira says the bursaries have a huge impact on youth in the care of CAS, who often face barriers to attending post secondary school.

"Even if you're coming from an average family with a mom and dad who are supporting you, it's a challenge to go to college or university," he said. "Then think about the fact that most youth in care don't have that consistent family support. They don't always have someone telling them to do their homework or helping them reach their goals."

Money is another obstacle for youth in care.

Once they turn 18 the Province no longer provides funding for a foster home placement, which means many end up living on their own. Durham CAS provides those youth with $1,000 a month until they turn 21, when all financial support ends.

A recent provincial survey conducted through the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies revealed less than 45 per cent of youth in care finish high school by age 21 as opposed to 79 per cent in the general population.

Only about 20 per cent of youth in care go on to post-secondary education compared to 40 per cent in the general population. Of those, only 20 per cent attend university, making Marie's accomplishment that much more rare.

"Knowing you have some extra help motivates you to keep going," said Marie, who will be working at a grocery store in Halifax to help cover the rest of her costs. "I stress a lot about how to pay for things and this takes some of that away."

Durham CAS is always looking for businesses and corporations to sponsor bursaries. To make a donation or learn more, visit

Source: Metroland Durham

The Miser

While seeking rest from daily care,
I learned that Monsieur Molière,
The darling of the muses nine,
Whose blessings flow on him like wine,
Is now presenting on the stage
Yes, he's the idol of the age
A Miser who diverts us all;
And not a little bit. His thrall
Encompasses; his scope is vast;
He makes us laugh from first to last.
He speaks in prose and not in verse;
But the effect is none the worse.
His prose is so theatrical;
Its essence is dramatical.
This Miser, then, whose praise one sings,
Is prodigal in comic things.
What's more, the acting's excellent.
Your time could not be better spent.

Charles Robinet, Letters in Verse, Paris, 15 September 1668