Growing up in a small Inuit village in Nunavut, the world seemed small to Shelby Angalik. Books changed that for her.
The 18 year old will attend Brock University in the fall to study English literature with the help of a TD Scholarships for Community Leadership award of up to $70,000 from TD Bank Group.
“I live in a really isolated place so there wasn’t much to do here. I started reading for fun,” she says. “Reading helped me see there’s more to life than our little town.”
One of the reasons Angalik was chosen for the scholarship is her dedication to helping other youth in Arviat, Nunavut discover the world through the written word. She started a reading program for young people in both English and Inuktitut.
She gets as much out of the program as the participants, she says. It has helped her realize what she wants to do with her life.
“I want to become a librarian so I can come back and expand my reading program and help increase literacy,” she says, noting literacy rates in her community are low.
Reading helped me see there’s more to life than our little town.
In her winning scholarship essay, Angalik opens up about the social issues facing her Inuit community.
“I’ve seen many things that push me away from Arviat. Many people abuse drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancy is a big issue here, there are more students dropping out than there are students who graduate, there are limited employment opportunities, and we’re struck with poverty and mental illness,” she writes.
But, she says there is also a lot to love about her hometown including its connection to Inuit culture and its connection to nature.
“I want to get out into the world and get a good education,” she writes. “So I can come back with more to offer.”
As part of the TD Scholarships for Community Leadership, Angalik is receiving up to $70,000 over four years for tuition and living expenses for post-secondary education. Recipients also have the chance to make lifelong connections through summer employment with TD, as well as mentorship and networking opportunities.
“Shelby is a great example of the emerging leaders the TD Scholarships for Community Leadership seeks to recognize and support. When Shelby saw challenges in her community, she stepped up to help create solutions – whether it was through leading a reading program to help improve literacy levels, volunteering in the library when the school lost its librarian, or taking an active role in the school drama productions that help community members deal with difficult issues,” says Jane Thompson, Executive Director, TD Scholarships for Community Leadership. “Shelby is the real deal, and we are delighted to support her studies at Brock and know she will be a huge asset wherever she goes after graduation.”
Angalik said she chose Brock because of its size and reputation.
“It is a small enough school and close knit. Plus, there are lots of activities,” she says.
Angalik is more excited than nervous to be leaving her community of 3,000 for a school of nearly 19,000.
“This is going to be the first time I’ll be living outside of Nunavut and on my own,” she says. “I can’t wait to leave for university.”
Angalik is one of 20 young Canadians from across the country to receive the 2016 TD Scholarships for Community Leadership, recognizing the meaningful and lasting difference they’ve made in their communities.