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January 4, 2011
Aboriginal students taking English classes have a little more support thanks to the new Vickers Family English Awards this year.
"We are so impressed with the openness, acceptance, enthusiasm and support given by Camosun staff to so many students of varying ages and life experiences," says long-time donor Pat Vickers.
Getting involved with Access students
Pat's family has been closely involved with Camosun for many years, particularly with the School of Access and Department of Aboriginal Education, having first established the Pamela Vickers Achievement Award in 1992 in honour of her daughter.
"My daughter, who had both Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition, graduated from Oak Bay Secondary in 1988," explains Pat. "Because there was no program for her at Camosun at that time, she took a vocational course at the Career Development Society and became a part-time Level 1 Office Assistant in the provincial government. Her goal was always to work in an office."
"When Pamela passed away in 1990, our friends and family established the Pamela Vickers Achievement Award (pdf) to give others like her encouragement and support to seek skills," she adds. "When we heard about Camosun's new program for those with developmental disabilities, (now called the Employment Training and Preparation program) we decided to move the award to the College in 1993. We were delighted to continue Pamela's award with the support of the Camosun Foundation."
Helping students with differing challenges
"Thus began our significant contact with Camosun," she says. "We've learned so much about how Camosun assists a wide range of students with differing abilities and challenges."
Then when her husband and former Supreme Court judge, David, died last year, Pat and her family decided to honour his life with the Vickers Family English Access Awards for Aboriginal students. "David and I adopted a son in 1968, and since then we have always been aware of many of the problems faced by our First Nations people."
As a well-known and highly regarded lawyer and judge, David Vickers was both professionally and personally committed to equality and justice for all people. He believed that neither was possible without access to education and community participation. Even after his retirement, the Victoria community benefited greatly from his strong voice and social conscience around the issues of poverty and homelessness.
Now, thanks to Pat and David Vickers, more than 18 individual Camosun students have overcome some of the financial barriers to their education.
Students benefit from encouragement, acknowledgement
"I encourage others to learn more about Camosun," says Pat. "Including the wide range of programs offered, from pre-vocational to vocational and academic. Many students need assistance, encouragement and acknowledgement of their efforts to reach their goals and to be contributing members of the community. It can be a real struggle for those who are returning to college to 'pick up' where they left off or to develop new skills or to gain self-esteem."
The Camosun College Foundation is grateful to donors like the Vickers family for all their generosity in supporting Camosun students.
Helping students in need
Camosun College Foundation
Last updated: April 6, 2011 11:21 am