Friday, December 18, 2009

Students share holiday spirit

Douglas students took time during the hectic mid-term season to make the holidays a little brighter for four local families.

The Douglas College Business Association (DCBA) adopted a single mom with a six-year-old daughter through Fraserside Community Services in New West. Students say they were moved to take action by Lions Gate Entertainment founder Frank Giustra, who gave a talk at Douglas in the Fall.

“We were really inspired by Frank and what he said about the importance of philanthropy,” says DCBA member Hilary Loyd (centre in the above photo, with Catrina Bordignon, left, and Bailey Chambers, right). “We’re going to make this an annual tradition,” Hilary adds.

Meanwhile, Nursing students sponsored three Douglas students in need and their families – a mom with two children and two moms with one child each – through Financial Aid at the College. In all, they raised over $1,200 in cash and gift cards.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A decision for my future

By Amanda Cheung, Sport Science

When it came to making a decision about my future, the options were easy. Work a dead-end job that consisted of four walls, which only trapped me further and further, suffocating the life out of me, or go to school and pursue the career of my dreams. Universities are large, intimidating, and costly but a college seemed to be a better fit seeing class sizes are smaller and you are not just a number in class but an actual student.

The advice
Although my decision seemed clear cut, I wanted to ask others for their opinions on why they went to various schools. What was interesting was one of my friends told me that Douglas College was the best time of her life. The learning environment was welcoming, the professors were knowledgeable and the friendships lasting. Everything was always readily available. If you wanted to participate in sports, there were club teams or intramurals, if you wanted a place to relax and study or just mingle with your friends, there was the café, the library or the concourse, which was something you see straight out of the movies. For those who wanted to kick back, relax and unwind from the days of cramming for exams and let loose, the student union offered themed dances on a regular basis.

The more the stories I was told, the more drawn I felt to Douglas College. I was not even registered, nor did I have my schedule structured, but I had already imagined how my days, weeks, and semesters would look. No other educational institute seemed to matter nor could I fathom attending school anywhere else. Sure, the proximity to my current household was also a contributing factor but overall, in the end, the decision was obvious.

Flash forward
I am now currently in my second year of the Sport Science Program and everything that I had imagined was far from the truth - it has exceeded my expectations beyond belief. I owe my success thus far to my professors who instill their knowledge upon me, to my friends who have infected my life more positively than I could have ever imagined, and I now look into the future and look forward to others asking my opinion on which educational institute to attend. My answers will replicate those, which were reflected to me in the past.

I am proud to become a Douglas College alumni. I now have memories that will last a lifetime, friends that are supportive throughout and knowledge which I look forward to instilling within my future students, as I will become an educator. The best part of it all is that in order to become a successful educator, you have to make informed and educated decisions, and it is clear that by attending Douglas College, I have further paved the road to my future success.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Class Act

Students and employees keep it classy

Were you at A Class Act this Fall? Hotel and Restaurant Management students helped organize the fundraiser for student aid. Here are a few pics from the annual event. Read more...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Douglas grad’s Uganda home for children grows

Community Social Service Worker (CSSW) graduate Carli Travers and her husband Robert visited Douglas in September and did some fundraising for Abetavu Children’s Home, which they run in Uganda, Africa. They are now in the process of formally adopting the nine children they have taken in at the home and have two biological children. Carli recently sent out an update on what’s happening in their lives. Here are some excerpts from her November, 2009 newsletter:

By Carli Travers, Community Social Service Worker graduate

It was so wonderful to be able to come to Canada, share more about our family and projects and meet many of you face-to-face. We had great success through our silent auction, private presentations and private donations. We were able to raise over $10,000.

Thank you to everyone for all the support that you continue to give us. You play a very significant role in raising our children up and out of despair, giving them hope for a bright future.

We have expanded
Since we received enough financial support, we were able to reach our goal of renting a larger space for our education program. We now have a space with one large room, two small rooms, and two pit latrine toilets. We now have enough space for the 90+ students who now attend our free school.

A sad loss
Through the support of one of our contributors, we have been sending boys to school who were in desperate need of education. Sadly, six of the boys and the grandmother that we had arranged to care for them died in a flood. We were able to give them a respectable burial and small funeral so that they could be remembered in a special way.

Registering for NGO status
We are officially well into the registration process for NGO certification in Uganda. Through the support of our friends, we were able to hire a lawyer. We have met with family services who came and did a home visit and have approved our home. They have also signed care orders for Abetavu to be the legal guardians of all the children, and since we have had Julianna (left) the longest, they have approved us and signed the necessary papers for the adoption of Julianna. We are hoping to get a date in November with the Supreme Court to give the final approval for the adoption.

The next step
Since we have started the registration process with family services, we are now considered one of the child placement homes for abused, neglected, abandoned and orphaned children. We went to go and introduce ourselves to the reception centre where children are placed temporarily, before being assigned to a children’s home.

They have over 100 children, children who have suffered from being burnt with acid, children with cerebral palsy, children who have escaped child sacrifice; overall various forms of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

The need for all these children is to have a loving, nurturing, and stable family environment. The number of children that require this is exorbitant. We believe every child deserves the equal opportunity of a bright future, in a Uganda where no child is left behind.

We need to take the next step and raise the funds to purchase land and begin construction of our new facility. We need to bring more children out of destitution and into a family, where they will be cherished, loved and given a bright future.

The next step: building plans
We have met with an extremely qualified architect from Ireland, now based in Uganda, who is helping us cost out our building plans and design our site. He is helping put together the essential figures and layout of our proposed project site so that we can make a proper business presentation in order to raise the necessary funds.

We would greatly appreciate financial support for our children’s education outreach program:
· Breakfast for over eighty children: $150.00/month.
· Staff (teacher and assistant): $300.00/month.
· School building rent: $230.00/month.
· Writing books and educational tools: $200.00/3 month.
· Help towards the increase in our rent of the $350.00/month. (In total our rent is $1000.00/month.)

Our goal is to get each of our children permanently sponsored for $100.00 a month - this would be a very personal experience with emails, pictures and letters updated when possible.

So far we have had one of our children sponsored: Christie (left).

Tax deductible donations to support Abetavu Children’s Home can be made to DMI Ministries and sent to 32171 Ashcroft Drive, Abbotsford BC, V2T 5C7.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Open a door

By Ashley-Anne Churchill, Environmental Science

It’s amazing how we’ve gotten so wrapped up in the petty details of life, in a society that tells us we never have enough, that we rarely appreciate how fortunate we really are. Most of us don’t realize what we have until we have to live without it.

A little while ago I had gotten a small bonus on my last paycheck from a seasonal job and I decided to treat my brother, my mom and myself to coffee and treats at Tim Horton's on a very cold night. As I walked towards the door, an underprivileged fellow smiled and opened the door for me. As I was waiting for my order, I looked back on the man standing at the door, holding it open for everyone who walked through with that cheerful smile on his face.

Very few looked at him or returned his smile. I realized that even I had fastidiously looked away and I was appalled with myself. Without thinking, I asked to add a box of doughnut holes to my order and silently gave it to him on my way out, looking at him with a forlorn look on my face. He looked straight at me and said with a knowing look, "Keep smiling."

I felt so comforted at that moment. I felt so sad for him before, but it seemed like he was actually saying "Don't worry, things will get better. I know it, and you need to know it too." I had and still have very little money and I'm constantly wondering how long I'll have a roof over my head and food to eat, but I am thankful for what I have.

One day a few weeks later, my mom bought me some cookies and a coffee; it was the best thing I'd tasted in weeks, possibly months. I was reminded of the fellow who, as I was trying to comfort and help him, ended up comforting and helping me. I wish I could meet him again and let him know that I will never forget what he said:

"Keep smiling."

I was lost in my own misery because I felt I had lost so much and I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. But it only took the smile of a homeless man to open the door to a new perspective for me. I decided that no matter how little I have, I will always try to give something to someone else, whenever I have the chance, because there will always be someone less fortunate than me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Got talent? Win a year’s free tuition

Everybody has a talent. Upload a video of yours to the Doug’s Got Talent YouTube group before February 28, 2010 and you could win big – one of three $4,000 tuition credits!

What’s talent?
Just about anything: sing, slam dunk, stand on your head for 10 minutes.

What’s not talent?
Anything illegal or obscene – in other words, if you wouldn’t show it to your mom, don’t show it to us.

Who’s eligible?
Current and prospective students.

Fill out a contest entry form and get all the details, including contest rules and regulations at