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The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities actively promotes full participation in society and provides a voice for Albertans with disabilities.

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Bursaries and Awards


Each year, Voice of Albertans with Disabilities awards Education for Life bursaries, the Elsa Marie Lodewyk Memorial Bursary, the Pembina Pipeline Corporation Bursary, the Certificate of Recognition for Academic Achievement and the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Award.

Education for Life Bursary

To mark the occasion of our 25th anniversary in 1998, Voice of Albertans with Disabilities initiated the Education for Life Bursary program. With this program, we support students who have a disability to achieve their post-secondary goals.

Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Education for Life Bursary, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a disability
  • Live in Alberta
  • Use the bursary for tuition fees and/or course materials
  • Submit a completed application form by July 15
  • Include one letter of reference from an adult other than a family member. (Only one letter of reference will be accepted.)
  • Write and submit a short biography (maximum 250 words), which includes educational goals.

Value

Bursaries range in value from $300 to $2000.

Selection

Applicants are selected on the basis of their motivation and economic circumstances. While all full- and part-time post-secondary students are eligible for the bursary, first-year students are given first consideration.

Presentation

All applicants, whether they receive an award or not, are notified by mail before July 30 of each year. Voice of Albertans with Disabilities sends a cheque directly to the post-secondary institution that successful applicants will be attending. Recipients are acknowledged in a variety of Voice of Albertans with Disabilities publications.

Apply

Download an Education for Life Bursary Application Form.

Elsa Marie Lodewyk Memorial Bursary

The Elsa Marie Lodewyk Memorial Bursary was established by her family to reflect Elsa’s generosity, kindness and gentleness. She would have been thrilled to know that she was helping another person with a disability.

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities board members and staff greatly appreciate the Lodewyk family’s generosity and contribution to higher education for students with disabilities in memory of their daughter, Elsa Marie.

About Elsa Marie Lodewyk

Elsa Marie Lodewyk was born on April 18, 1992, with severe cerebral palsy and was not expected to live for even a few days. She had a strong will, though, and lived a full life for almost 19 years. Elsa’s disabilities meant that she needed help from many people – her parents, siblings, teachers, schoolmates, caregivers, doctors and nurses. She touched the lives of many people with her gentle spirit and had many friends. Elsa showed that life is about building strong relationships, listening to one another and being a friend. Even though Elsa could not speak, she was able to contribute to the lives of numerous people and her life had a positive impact on many.

Value

The successful candidate will receive a one-time bursary of $1,000 from the Elsa Marie Lodewyk Memorial Bursary fund.

Apply

All applicants for the Education for Life Bursary will be considered for the Elsa Marie Lodewyk Memorial Bursary. No additional application is required. Download an Education for Life Bursary application form.

The Pembina Pipeline Corporation Bursary

The Pembina Pipeline Corporation Bursary will be awarded to a student with a disability residing in Alberta and attending a post-secondary institution in the province (college, university, trade school, etc.). The award will be based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need, with the student selected at the discretion of the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities.

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities board members and staff greatly appreciate the generosity and contribution by the Pembina Pipeline Corporation to higher education for students with disabilities.

Value

The successful candidate will receive a one-time bursary of $2,000.

Apply

All applicants for the Education for Life Bursary will be considered for the Pembina Pipeline Corporation Bursary. No additional application is required. Download an Education for Life Bursary application form.

Certificate of Recognition for Academic Achievement

Each year, Voice of Albertans with Disabilities contacts every post-secondary institution in the province, inviting VP Academics to nominate students for the Certificate of Recognition for Academic Achievement.

Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Certificate of Recognition for Academic Achievement, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a disability
  • Be attending a post-secondary institution in Alberta (full time or part time)
  • Demonstrate effort and academic achievement

Nomination process

  • The institution’s VP Academic, or designate, completes and submits the nomination form that they receive from VAD
  • The nomination form must be submitted to Voice of Albertans with Disabilities by January 15 and May 15 of each academic year

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Award

Each year, Voice of Albertans with Disabilities presents the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Award to an Alberta citizen for his or her "dedication and integrity in the continuing pursuit of full participation in society by people with disabilities in Alberta."

Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Award, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Live in Alberta and been a resident for at least one year
  • Show outstanding commitment to improving the lives of persons with disabilities by promoting the three guiding principles of the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities: full participation, accessibility and equity.

Process

  • To nominate an individual, complete a nomination form and submit it along with a minimum of one and a maximum of three letters of support (400 words or less) by December 31.
  • The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities board of directors selects the individual found to be the most deserving of the award.
  • Current Voice of Albertans with Disabilities board members are not eligible for this award. Board members can be nominated after they have been off the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities board for one year.
  • Voice of Albertans with Disabilities promotes the award through its newsletters (Action News, Action Notes), website and other appropriate communication materials.

Nominate

Download a Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Award nomination form.

 

2015 CCD Award Recipient: Joan Nielsen


Joan was born and raised on a farm near Stony Plain, AB.  When she was ten years old, a very special addition arrived at her home – one that would change her life forever!  Her only brother was born with muscular dystrophy.  Our family faced numerous challenges during a period of time when awareness of disabilities was minimal and acceptance was extremely limited. 
 
One highlight of her brother’s life was the time he spent at Camp Health, Hope & Happiness (Camp He Ho Ha) in the early 60’s. Not only did her brother benefit from the experience at this magical place, but her family was able to take a much-needed “break” from the 24 hour care that was required for her brother.
 
Joan attended the University of Alberta pursuing a career in teaching.  Joan taught elementary grades at Kensington School in Edmonton, and moved to the County of Sturgeon where she continued her teaching career.
 
In 1990 she certainly took the path less traveled.  Although Joan was private about her aspirations, she continued to thirst for a position working with people with disabilities.  Joan’s dream became a reality when a door of opportunity opened and she was offered a position as Executive Director at Camp Health, Hope & Happiness, a camp that provides adapted recreational camps to children and adults with every type and degree of disability.  She has never looked back!
 
She held the position of Executive Director for 25 years, and has recently assumed the position of Director of Donor Relations which still provides her with the opportunity to spend time with her campers.  Joan’s journey at Camp is both humbling and amazing, and she feels so blessed to have the opportunity to work with people with disabilities.  
 
Since her employment at Camp, Joan has been the recipient of several awards in recognition of her service to the community and people with disabilities. They include The Award of Distinction from the Kiwanis International, the Great Albertan, the Woman of Vision, the Alberta Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal,  the Alberta Centennial Salute for Sports and Recreation, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award.  I am a member of the Lions organization, and have received several awards from the Lions Foundation of Canada.
 
Joan has been married for 50 years, and she has been blessed with a son, a daughter and four special grandchildren.  She enjoys volunteering and spending time with her family.


 

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