Program offers win-win opportunity for students and communities

This summer, Brock University students and recent graduates will be able to help others while also receiving assistance themselves.

The Canada Student Service Grant encourages post-secondary students and recent graduates to connect with their communities and give back in a meaningful way through approved volunteer opportunities that will qualify them to receive a grant of between $1,000 and $5,000.

To access the funding, interested participants are encouraged to visit the I Want to Help website, where they will confirm their eligibility, search for opportunities, register and apply, and track their hours.

Kristen Smith, Brock’s Manager of Student and Community Outreach, said the program offers a chance for students to gain experience and receive funding at a time when employment opportunities are tougher to come by.

“We know this summer may not look like what most Brock students expected, and for some it will be especially challenging to find employment,” she said. “We are pleased the Government of Canada has launched the Canada Student Service Grant program to financially support student volunteers who are using their skills to contribute to community organizations across the country. The program is a win-win for community organizations and students. Community organizations can gain value from students’ skills, and student volunteers gain experience and a better understanding of the needs of their communities.”

Local members of parliament also expressed their support for the grants and the boost they will give to students.

“I am pleased that we are able to bring funding to Brock students under the Canada Student Service Grant,” said Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey. “This is an investment in our future, helping our students financially and strengthening their skills that will contribute to a sustainable balance between environment, social and economic stewardship.”

St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle said the grants “will provide unique opportunities for students and recent graduates.”

“Acquiring job experience while a student is incredibly important, and COVID-19 makes that task all the more challenging,” said Bittle. “The CSSG will create new ways for students to gain experience while supporting the important work of local charities and not-for-profit organizations who will also benefit from student volunteerism at such a critical time.”

Smith said Brock has stepped up to help let local partners know about the opportunities available to them.

“The University plays an important role in sharing this information with our community partners,” she said. “We shared details of the program with local community organizations hoping they would submit volunteer opportunities to be matched with skilled and eager students.”

With a wide array of opportunities available, Smith said she’s excited to hear about the many ways students and partners will connect during an unprecedented time.

“When faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to support each other in our community,” she said.

To learn more about the Canada Student Service Grant, visit the I Want to Help website.

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