Bachelor of Arts Community Studies student, Chase Valiant, has been awarded a $10,000 RBC Students Leading Change Scholarship for his passion to lead and inspire positive change in his community.
Chase, who will graduate in May of 2019, says he began volunteering because of a genuine desire to get involved in his community. After volunteering for ADDvocacy ADHD & Life Skills Coaching for four years, the CEO of the company urged Chase to apply for the RBC award.
To apply, students were asked to submit a short essay detailing an issue they feel passionate about in their community and explain what intervention they would implement if given the opportunity.
Though Chase had numerous volunteer experiences to reflect on, he decided to write about his involvement with Sqwish, a program that had recently made its way to Sydney.
Sqwish is a non-competitive and non-judgemental drop-in basketball event modelled after similar leagues in Toronto and St. John’s. The aim of the program is to create a fun, safe and supportive athletic environment for those who may not feel comfortable playing sports otherwise, including women, newly immigrated Canadians and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Sqwish is extremely important because it provides a healthy environment for marginalized communities to vent their emotions through physical activity, while feeling accepted and supported,” says Chase.
Chase’s dedication to inclusion led RBC to award him the $10,000 scholarship, which will allow him to pursue his education at the graduate level. “I am so grateful to be selected as a winner for the RBC Students Leading Change Scholarship. At first I was hit with feelings of shock and then came relief from financial strain and of course the excitement that I shared with my family and partner,” says Chase.
Chase says he is incredibly thankful for how friendly staff, professors and fellow students have been at CBU throughout his educational journey. “It is an honour to learn from the professors at CBU. They have transformed the way I understand the world around me and have challenged me to grow academically,” says Chase.
Chase encourages other students to take advantage of volunteer opportunities, which can often be the deciding factor in scholarship and job opportunities. “Volunteer experience shows that you care about your community and that you are willing to give back without the guarantee of personal profit,” says Chase.
Throughout his pursuit to become more involved in his community, Chase has been able to work alongside inspiring and influential people who, like him, want to create positive change in their communities.
Chase, we are so #CBUProud of your dedication to volunteerism and working toward the greater good!