News and Events

Pathways Fund gets much needed boost from Gala guests

June 15, 2017
 

The community of Medicine Hat has stepped up to help students in need. The Medicine Hat College (MHC) Pathways Gala this past weekend is adding nearly $40,000 to the Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund (Pathways Fund).

The 2017 Pathways Gala provided guests the opportunity to enjoy great food and great company in a unique setting while making a difference in the lives of students. They explored showcase exhibits that depicted the everyday financial burdens experienced by today’s students.

Pathways Gala photos

Although post-secondary education can be funded through through a variety of sources, many students live on a shoestring budget. MHC saw the need for emergency funding and set up the Pathways Fund to address the financial barriers that threaten students’ ability to continue their education.

“We encounter students all the time who struggle to make ends meet. They may not have a support system to turn to, or may attend school as a mature student having kids to take care of and a mortgage to pay,” says MHC president and CEO Denise Henning, who can identify with these struggles as she herself returned to school as a single mother. “Many students face financial struggles, and while we at Medicine Hat College recognize the need, we aren’t always able to help.”

The need for emergency student funding is rising at an alarming rate. Students who are dedicated to their education can struggle to make ends meet, particularly when life takes an unexpected turn. A single sudden event, such as losing a family member, a job, or dealing with health concerns, can leave a student facing the grim decision to quit college.

pathways gala photo

Sandra Moore understands these challenges better than most. Moore, who attended MHC in the 1990s to complete her GED, spoke at the event and described the circumstances that led her to pursue post-secondary. Where she is at now – PhD candidate and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar Award recipient – was not where she started, explained Moore to gala guests.

Pregnant at 17 years of age and unemployed, Moore vowed to make a change to improve her life and the life of her unborn child. While it wasn’t easy, she finished her high school diploma, began academic upgrading at MHC, and pulled herself out of poverty. Accessing financial support through the college at that time was critical to her ability to create a better life.

A recent increase in non-traditional students attending college highlights a host of students in vulnerable situations: unemployed adults retraining after lengthy careers, single mothers trying to do more for their families, new Canadians determined to build a better life. Pre-existing and ongoing financial obligations don’t stop just because someone decides to go to school.

pathways gala photo

According to Henning, the proceeds from this year’s gala were given a boost from matching funds, and there is still an opportunity to make additional donations count. “We still have the ability to match gifts to the Pathways Fund and we are hoping for further donations. All money raised for Pathways will continue to qualify for the gala matching program for a limited time.”

With the donations received at the Pathways Gala, MHC is now able to use the endowed fund to provide $20,000 in emergency funding during the 2017-2018 academic year, with a continued emphasis on building the endowment. Donations can be made online at www.mhc.ab.ca/pathways (ensure to select the Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund for your gift to qualify for matching) or by calling Jenna Williams, community relations officer, at 403-502-8995.