Eric Dupenau knows what it’s like to struggle in school. His high school years were plagued with poor markets and absenteeism.
He lost his father at an early age, was raised by a single mom and worked after school and weekends to save enough money to start post-secondary school.
There was no time for sports or after-school activities for Eric.
“I became aware of the financial selection process and wanted to offer a helping hand to students like myself,” he said.
Eric chose to establish two bursaries, one for graduating Grade 12 students and one for post-secondary students.
He admitted this was a steep learning curve.
“It’s not as simple as you’d think,” he said with a smile.
“The paperwork can be overwhelming.”
However, Eric pushed through the process, knocking on doors of individuals, organizations and companies, looking for donations for his bursaries.
“The donations need to be for more than just one year, they must be self-sustaining,” he said.
As far as who can apply? His two bursaries are specifically for students of single parents, single parent students, and students who have lost a parent as well as financial need and community involvement.
“There’s no other bursary I know of that targets this type of student,” he said.
“I plan to offer $500 for each bursary.”
Eric approached both School District 28 and College of New Caledonia to set up the bursaries.
“They were both very accepting and encouraging of my plan,” he said.
So far Eric’s collected enough donations for the secondary school bursary which will
be offered in the
2012 bursary package and is almost to his target for the CNC bursary.
SD28 is administering the Grade 12 bursary and is the drop off point for donations to both funds.
Eric is still looking for donations to keep the bursaries going for at least five years and says any donations, which can be continued for the next few years are gratefully accepted (at the SD28 office for now.)
He’s calling his bursaries the Be The Change after the famous Ghandi quote.
“If this bursary can help with even some of the costs associated with post-secondary school, I’ll know it’s worth it,” he said.
“Just the cost of books is difficult.”
Eric, 18, knows about those costs as he’s just beginning his second semester of university transfer courses at the Quesnel CNC campus with the goal of becoming a social worker.
“I’m $28 short of my tuition costs but they’re letting me enroll,” he said.
“I just have to work a little more to cover it.”