From a nutritious breakfast to the tools to write that math test to shoes for gym class, many essentials support a school experience that will set a student up for success – today and tomorrow.
But sometimes those essentials are out of reach for local families, and that’s where the Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation can help.
With roots reaching back to the Nanaimo Awards Society, which first administered School District 68’s scholarship program, the foundation emerged in 2010 to provide a greater range of supports to vulnerable students, explains executive director Crystal Dennison.
One in 5 students in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith area are affected by poverty, and the cost of school supplies, program fees and even clothing and food can create added challenges.
“If we can keep kids in school and graduating, the opportunities for their future are just so much brighter,” Dennison says, crediting connections built with the community, school staff and district. “We couldn’t do what we do for our students without the partnership we have.”
Here’s how the foundation helps local students, with your help:
- Student support funding: 1,200 students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 last year received essential school supplies, 9,000 athletic, student and grad fees were paid, and 7,400 basic supplies like clothing and gym shoes were provided. With back to school a crucial time for families and students, the Stock the Lockers campaign welcomes your donations through Aug. 31.
- Food4Schools: Recognizing that nutrition is an essential building block for learning, last year the foundation helped schools serve 72,000 breakfasts and lunches for 650 families throughout the district. While COVID brought a few changes – families picked up hampers to use for home breakfasts and lunches – the foundation, schools and volunteers continue to adapt based on families’ needs. “The foundation is committed to ensuring students have the breakfasts and lunches they need to learn.”
- Supporting post-secondary learning: 440 scholarships and bursaries were awarded in 2020, amounting to $525,000 in post-secondary funds for students in need. Awards are distributed according to various criteria, including academic, arts and athletic achievement and student need, and can be used for a full range of post-secondary education, including university, trades and professional programs.
- Enhanced learning support: The foundation also supports teachers and schools with small grants for initiatives that fall outside standard funding, such as costs associated with bringing in a particular speaker, launching a robotics program, or re-stocking a library with Indigenous materials.
How you can help the foundation help students
In addition to Stock the Lockers, with donations welcome through Aug. 31, gifts for the food, enhanced learning and award programs are always welcome.
“We welcome new ideas and new resources for local families, and are always happy to work with any donor who would like to set up a scholarship or bursary to support our students,” Dennison says.
Learn more about the Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation at nlsf.ca or call