College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Student Emergency Fund is receiving a boost today.
The fund has existed since 2015, but this year is the first time the college is partnering with Giving Tuesday, known as the global day of giving, to raise awareness and money for the cause.
Giving Tuesday is also known as the opening day of the giving season and traditionally follows Black Friday. It is an opportunity for charities, companies and individuals to rally for their favourite causes.
Elizabeth Chaulk, CNA’s vice-president of academics and student services, has been involved with helping students in some form or another for nearly three decades, but notes there wasn’t anything formal in place.
Fundraisers and book fairs were held to raise money to help someone in dire need or crisis, but it was realized something more was needed.
Chaulk, working with student aid information officer Sharon Hartley, says a decision was made two years ago that a $45,000 donation to the college from an educational foundation would be used to set up a fund for students in crises.
“Our goal is to have $100,000 in the fund – we have done well and we are not quite there, but we want to ensure that there is enough in there to handle emergency cases for years from now,” Chaulk said.
“Going to college is difficult enough. A student could be acing their program, but when they are suddenly hit with a crisis, everything could go sideways. The fund aims to weather the crisis, so the students don’t give up on their education. It is part of our college’s support strategy to give every student the opportunity to succeed.”
Anna Peddle, CNA’s alumni and advancement office manager, says there are people who want to donate money to the college and help students but don’t know how.
“The Student Emergency Fund makes perfect sense when it comes to raising money,” she said.
“We focus on items, such as transportation, food and medical needs as the primary uses for the assistance. We want to be able to meet the need within a 24-hour period. We are able to provide vouchers, gift cards or money for medical needs. Students have to take some onus, but there are times the situations get beyond their control.
“Our aim is to have a viable fund and with 17 campuses, the needs that emerge are diverse, and we want to be ahead of the game and be ready for students when they need us the most,” she said.