Aug. 25, 2022
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation has donated $318,000 to Laurier in support of the innovative Learners from Care Academic Success program, which supports students with current or former experience with the foster care system to achieve a postsecondary education.
“Wilfrid Laurier University has imagined a unique program that sensitively responds to the complex histories of university students coming out of the foster care system,” said Abbie Grafstein, manager, grants and community investment, Lyle S. Hallman Foundation. “Flexible financial, academic and social supports will holistically support learners from care to meet their changing needs. By supporting this project, we see the potential to make a significant impact on the students involved and to identify promising practices that can be shared within and beyond Waterloo Region.”
Building on the foundation of existing support services and financial awards, the Learners from Care Academic Success program – which will launch in the fall of 2022 – expands Laurier’s ability to provide support for eligible students to participate fully in their university experience both inside and outside of the classroom. Through comprehensive support from admission to graduation, students can focus on excelling in their studies and meeting their academic and career goals. Funds from this gift will support both tuition and non-tuition expenses not covered by OSAP or other government funding, including an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. Students starting full-time studies in first year may qualify to have residence and meal plan costs covered as part of the program. This gift will cover a seven-year period.
“The Learners from Care Academic Success program truly demonstrates Laurier’s commitment to inclusive, accessible education that fosters student achievement and thriving,” said Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “We are deeply grateful and inspired to work with the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation to bring this program to deserving students.”
The program is administered in a joint collaboration between the Dean of Students Office and Transition and Learning Services. Fifteen full-time undergraduate students, five to 15 part-time undergraduate students, and three to six graduate students are projected to go through in the next three years.
“With the generosity of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, the Learners from Care Academic Success program will engage and support a larger cohort of students by providing a holistic approach to supporting the whole student experience,” said Andrea Dalimonte, student care coordinator with the Laurier Brantford campus Dean of Students Office. “This funding will aid in reducing financial, academic and systemic barriers to completing post-secondary education for learners from care.”
"The unique aspect of this program is the flexibility that allows learners from care to access and complete their studies on their own time,” said Lindsay Lawrence, associate director, Transition & Learning Services at Laurier.
“Whether they want to study full time, part time or need to take a break in the middle, the Learners from Care program will provide support for students at every point in their journey at Laurier." This program receives networking, promotion and advisory support from the Child Welfare Political Action Committee, Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region, and agencies connected to the Waterloo/Wellington and Hamilton/Brant Haldimand/Norfolk Ontario Education Championship Teams. It also gratefully receives philanthropic support from the Maurice Price Foundation. Students interested in applying can visit the Learners from Care Academic Success Program website for more information and to fill out the application form. Applications for Fall 2022 will be open until Sept. 30. Current students and Laurier faculty that are interested in supporting the program as a peer or faculty mentor can contact Lindsay Lawrence at email@example.com or Andrea Dalimonte at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation has been a generous supporter of Laurier for more than 18 years, donating more than $4.5 million to diverse projects, initiatives and programs including Laurier Access to University (A2U), the Walls to Bridges program through Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, and $300,000 toward Nadjiwan Kaandossiwin Gamik, the Indigenous student centre on Laurier’s Waterloo campus.
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