To ensure that children coming from households impacted by OSI’s can build a bright future for themselves, Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) launched its first annual Veterans’ Child Scholarship (VCS). This is WWC first initiative solely focused on the children of ill and injured CAF members and veterans.
“As families are moving forward it might be that the child’s education is one of the things that may be adversely affected. So, we wanted to find a way to encourage the children of those houses that wanted to go on to post-secondary education and begin to build their lives, to give them an opportunity and a real kick start to that, as well, so they begin to spread their wings and move into the world and transition, as well,” said Phil Ralph, National Program Director for WWC.
With a total of $40,000 allotted for the scholarship, the VCS will be awarded to eight children coming from a household with a parent diagnosed with an OSI. The scholarship will fund the first year of a full-time post-secondary education, providing each child with $5,000. Payments will be divided on a semester basis.
“This scholarship is really our first look at how to assist children that are living in homes that are affected by OSIs like PTSD,” said Ralph.
To apply, eligible students need to fill out an application online and include a 200 to 500-word essay on why they are seeking the scholarship, a letter of recommendation from a health care provider attesting to the situation of the household and another letter of recommendation from anyone the child chooses. It is expected that the winners will be announced by the end of June.
While WWC has provided CAF members and veterans diagnosed with OSI programming for several years, the organization realized that mental injuries often greatly impact the families. From this realization stemmed funding to programs like Can Praxis, which provide support to spouses of the ill and injured. With the success of programs such as Can Praxis, WWC decided to find a way to help the children of these families.
“The next logical step we knew, speaking to the family, that the children are also affected. Children living in those environment and sometimes they’re disadvantaged when trying to move forward. When spouses are walking on egg shells that affects the lives of children as well,” noted Ralph.
Ralph also acknowledged that the scholarship is a way of putting the needs of the family first after the years of support they provide to the service member.
“We always say, those of us who have been in uniform, that it’s our families who stand behind us. So this is a way to give back to our greatest supporters which are our families and our children, that are so often quietly behind us and also going through all the things we are going through,” said Ralph.
The hope is that the scholarship will be awarded annually, and the number of scholarships can eventually increase.
The scholarship is sponsored by The Bay Street Children’s Foundation, CIBC, RBC, and ITG.
Deadline to apply for the Veterans’ Children Scholarship is June 1, 2016. To apply visit woundedwarriors.ca