Summer students make impact in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Federal government funding provides help for two Nanaimo-based charities.

Ashley Elliot

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island and Literacy Central Vancouver Island were recipients of the Government of Canada’s summer student grant program through the Youth Employment Strategy this year.

The summer student grant program is an opportunity for students like Ashley Elliot and Solveig Hanson to gain relevant work experience before graduation. According to a United Waypress release, these positions are what move small organizations forward – groups like the United Way and Literacy Central cannot afford to hire without the support of the Government of Canada’s summer student program.

Elliot, United Way summer student, spent two years at Vancouver Island University and will be returning to school in September to the University of Victoria.

She is gaining experience in fundraising, non-profit communications, research and teamwork. Elliot is also learning about the social issues in her hometown of Nanaimo.

“Ashley is a great help to us as we prepare for the fall fundraising campaign. For the first time we have that extra hand through the summer student program and Ashley’s time will help us raise more to support local programs in our community,” said Signy Madden, executive director at the United Way.

Hanson was another recipient of the summer student program with one of the United Way’s community partners, Literacy Central. She is having a great experience working with a volunteer in her 80s who has been sharing with Solveig her knowledge about the social enterprise bookstore as well as what it was like to live through the bombings in London during the blitz.

“We are really pleased to have Solveig with us as our summer student,” said Michele Hillier, executive director at Literacy Central. “She is working on a couple of initiatives that we just do not have the staff or time to complete. It is lovely to have her youthful energy here.”