UNBC student Kassondra Schwab, centre right, accepts the IWAU award from UNBC dean Dr. Blanca Schorcht, Leila Soila, executive director for the Quesnel campus student union, and Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes. Contributed photo

Women with the power to inspire

UNBC’s annual event in Quesnel aims to empower women to achieve an education

Quesnel residents took much inspiration from some accomplished women at the Inspiring Women Among Us (IWAU) speaker series and craft fair, which took place at Quesnel’s College of New Caledonia and University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) campus on Nov. 25.

The event, which is in its third year, saw nine women take to the podium to share their experiences, stories and contributions to the community, and around 60 listeners over the day.

Women including Melanie MacDonald, executive director of the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society; Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes; and Leah Hjorth, a local teacher, and Nazko Band elder Doreen Patrick, among others, spoke eloquently on a range of topics, all with the message of empowering women in business and community.

The event, which also featured a craft fair, with more than 20 home-based business vendors selling enticing treats and handcrafted items, raised money for UNBC’s IWAU Award, which is given to inspiring female students each year to help them fund their continuing education.

This year’s recipient, Kassondra Schwab, a fourth-year social work student, works three jobs while studying at the Quesnel Campus. She accepted her award from UNBC dean Dr. Blanca Schorcht, Leila Soila, executive director for the Quesnel campus student union, and MLA Oakes

Schwab said her mother is one of her greatest influences.

UNBC south-central regional chair Titi Kunkel says the event has raised $312 so far (with some donations being mailed in after the event), and on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 28), the university pledged to double the donations raised.

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