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Karma Youdon and Mary Althea Valenzuela were the recipients of this year’s Gerda R. Bloemraad Educational Scholarship. Gerda R. Bloemraad Educational Scholarship aims to provide monetary assistance to CIWA clients or volunteers who wish to further their education or commence a course at an accredited institution in a subject of their choice.

Originally from India, Karma Youdon arrived in Canada in February 2015. She joined CIWA as a mentee with the Youth Mentorship Program and continued on in a volunteer mentor capacity with multiple programs through CIWA’s Youth Collaborative. After graduating from high school in 2017, Karma has been working hard to save money for her college education as she is committed to pursuing her Social Work Diploma through Bow Valley College. The Gerda R. Bloemraad Scholarship will enable Karma to make her dream become reality by becoming a registered social worker while being an inspiration for her younger twin brothers. 

Currently a volunteer with CIWA’s Youth Mentorship Program, Mary Althea Valenzuela has at one point been a youth participant and mentee in the same program. As a newcomer from the Philippines, Mary dedicates herself to the pursuit of supporting the vulnerable and is fully committed to pursuing a career in social services. She is currently enrolled in Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Arts program. Mary hopes to apply the Gerda R. Bloemraad Scholarship funds towards her education and getting her closer to achieving her dream of becoming a registered social worker.   

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