With humility and hopefulness, I apply for the Dream Fund Bursary. My name is Kayla Lajeunesse. I am currently in grade 12 attending Frank Hurt Secondary, an inner-city school in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey, BC. I have an Honour Role standing, and maintain active involvement in my school and community. In everything I do, I feel the need to push beyond my capabilities, to reach above and beyond. Since I first began school, I’ve enjoyed it. From kindergarten to grade 7, I attended George S. Vanier Elementary in the Surrey School district.
In grade 8, I transitioned into Frank Hurt Secondary, the nearest high school. Over the last five years at Frank Hurt, I have not only enjoyed school, but learned to take it seriously as an opportunity to enrich my future. From Planning 10, I have realized that education is the path to a good life. Your whole future depends on it. I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue post secondary Education. Last year my passion for continuing education was further inspired by my experience in a concurrent studies course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey Campus.Order now
I believe in lifelong learning; I believe if you are not learning, whether it is ˜life learning’ or formal schooling, you are not living up to your highest potential. I have had many constructive influences that have shaped my enthusiasm for social work. I believe that the role of a social worker can make a difference. Even if it is a small thing, like helping to get dental work, or advocating for the betterment of the child. If you are a social worker you have the privilege to empower strong decision-making that can help enhance a child’s life.
I want to be a life advisor, a fearless women, and a life-saving person. As I consider where to pursue my post-secondary education I have shared many conversations with people I trust. With confidence, I have decided to work towards a career in social work. After discussing possible options with family, teachers, social workers, youth workers and counselors it became clear that social work aligns with both my values and skills. Intent on making this dream possible, I have already applied to the University of the Fraser Valley.
This decision enables me to stay within a short distance from the school, and maintain proximity to family. I value both my time and family, and these considerations are central to my decision. In the future, I want to be a social worker in order to give back, and help kids. Over the last three years, I have had my share of foster parents and social workers that have not had time or resources to meet my needs. I do not want to sound like social workers do not care, I understand that these are many issues within the system that prevent social workers from doing the job right.
Because of my experiences, I hope to be the type of social worker that wants to be there; that takes the time to listen; that gets to know the children; and advocates for a system that will benefit everyone in the end. I have seen first hand children that have been exposed to traumatic experiences. Some children have needs that aren’t being met and this leaves me in heart wrenching pain. To see someone go through such a significant struggle inspires me. I have been there, with nothing: My only wish is to give back what I have been given.
Because of my experiences, I will be the type of social worker that wants to be there; that takes the time to listen; that gets to know the children; and advocate for a system that will benefit everyone in the end. My Challenges and Obstacles For the last three years, I have been in the foster care system. Before then, I lived in an abusive home and spent my grade 8 year living out of a car. During this time, my mom would bring me to her friends houses to shower, and once left me at a classmate’s house for three weeks. Some days I missed school because she could not afford the bus fare to get me there.
I do not blame my mom: I understand that mental health, addiction, and unemployment are serious struggles that require support that she did not have at her time of need. My mom was not able to provide me with the necessities of living, but this inspired me to create a better life for myself. My mom`s situation makes me want to work harder and never go down that route. Maybe in the future I want to have a family and give them the stable home that every youth deserves. Like every other child, when I was a little girl I imagined that I would go to school and live comfortably. This was simply not my reality.
As I near adulthood in foster care, I look with uncertainty upon the future. I look around at my peers, many of whom have family that will support them through the transition to life after high school, however, I realize my journey does not involve this kind of support. With appreciation I look back on the work that the foster system has done to provide me with a safe home to grow and learn. With understanding I look to strengthen the bonds I share with my family. Yet, as I begin applications to postsecondary I realize that my dream of becoming a social worker may not be a financial reality.
The Dream Fund Bursary will enhance my learning to a great extent because I will be able to financially afford post-secondary education. Without this bursary it would be very difficult for me to live out my dreams. Money should not be the issue that prevents someone from doing something. I do not have the benefit of a family that can support my dreams, but this bursary and other scholarships that I apply for will lead me down the path I would like to go. I am enjoying this process along the way and sharing my experiences with whomever is reading. I am on top of the surface because I have been through the fire.
People say success is a lot of things; a big house, nice clothes, financial security, the right car and the right job. That’s not my definition of success, My definition of success is to be able to do what I love, regardless of any obstacles. I have been there, with nothing: my only wish is to give back what I have been given. My List of Achievements and Successes As a student, my perseverance has paid off. Rather than back down when life has been difficult, I have immersed myself in school and the healthy relationships I share there. I have worked hard to maintain an Honour Roll standing.
Perhaps my greatest pride is in one of my difficult subject areas: math. Despite a difficult time in math, I have spent countless hours working with my teachers, peer tutors and Aboriginal support worker. Although I knew that my mark in this class would not meet my high personal standards, I am proud of the effort and commitment I put in to the course. I recognize that my stick-to-itiveness is a transferable skill and will help open many doors in my future. I am proud of my Aboriginal ancestry. As a student with self-identified Metis ancestry, I have been an active member of the Aboriginal community at my high school.
I frequently visit the Aboriginal Room, have engaged in many cultural activities and volunteered at the annual Aboriginal Open House. At this years Open House I helped welcome over 120 members of our community for a salmon bake dinner and evening of entertainment. Another source of pride is the personal exploration I engaged in as part of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University concurrent studies course IDEAS 1100. In this university level interdisciplinary arts course, students engaged in a lot of self-reflection and collaborative circles. We explored ourselves and discovered what is at our centres.
Moving outside my comfort zone, one activity required us to sit outside in the courtyard holding on to rocks in complete silence for ten minutes. We then discussed what we experienced through our senses. Through this I discovered that with patience we can come to deeper understandings of ourselves and the world around us. At the end of the program I received an A+ standing and my professor acknowledged my strong voice, compassionate manner and personal reflectiveness as some of my strengths. Being a member of the cheer team I have been able to develop leadership skills and maintain a healthy balance between mind and body.
More than a motivating form of exercise and art, the team environment of cheer has enriched my understanding of sharing space with others. Understanding how to physically and socially work together is an important part of a successful cheer team. I have been captain of my school cheer team for the past two years and my community cheer team for the last seven. As captain, I model the skills of cheer as a sport and model communication that builds community and respects my teammates. I have noticed that the way that the senior cheerleaders treat the team and sport shapes the development of the juniors.
Perhaps my greatest achievement is the strong mentor relationships I share with my foster siblings. I have been a supportive shoulder for my younger foster siblings. I have seen first hand children have needs that are not being met. This leaves me in heart wrenching pain. To see someone go through such a significant struggle inspires me. The children in the care home that I am living in have to fight the temptation each day to conquer their self-limiting beliefs because it is just that, that keep them from achieving their full potential.
I take on the role of big sister for them, I care about and for them: I advocate for them. The children of my community are a part of me. Recognizing my strengths as a peer mentor, my current youth worker encouraged me to volunteer at Options Community Centre. It is a place where children can go and connect with youth in a safe and supportive environment. From baking to reading, and conversation to play I developed healthy relationships with the children in the community. My experiences growing up have given me unique insight into how important even the simplest childhood experiences are.
I have harnessed my own power to create good things for myself and my community and I am honoured to have had the opportunity to pass them on. Over the last year, I have volunteered in Morgan Heights Crossing, a local seniors residence. One particular resident at Morgan Heights Crossing suffers from dementia. One afternoon, I was lost in a constant struggle solving mathematical problems and this female resident spoke eagerly asking what I was doing, and if there was anyway that she could help take some of the pressure off.
She mentioned that she had been a high-school math teacher for many years. She explained how teaching math is something that she has always had a passion for. Helping me work through the problems, I succeeded in finishing my worksheet. To me, it was a struggle, and for her it needed to be fixed. Experiences like this give me hope that I will be able to share my gifts and passions. What began as service I was giving became a lesson I received. Through all my service, I notice my own growth and acknowledge the gifts others have to offer.
The diversity of my experiences and successes continue to shape who I am. Along with the experiences I have shared, I have been a peer tutor in the BASES special education class; involved in Cadets, Global Issues Club, Run for Cancer; and as volunteer with EJS School of Fine Arts Musical Theatre. I value all the opportunities I have had to enrich my life and contribute to others. I look forward to continuing to develop my sense of self, recognizing that the successes and achievements I gain are gifts I can share back with my community.