Erin Bast, student in the Legal Assistant Diploma program and the student representative on the Red Deer Polytechnic Alumni Association, took part in this year's Sweaters for Scholarships initiative, which raised $12,600 for student scolarships and an emergency bursary. (Photo contributed)

RDP Sweaters for Scholarships raises $12,600

Donors encouraged to post photos of themselves in their Christmas sweaters

Community members and the Red Deer Polytechnic Alumni Association showed off their festive threads and raised $12,600 for student scholarships.

The Sweaters for Scholarships initiative encouraged community members to donate to student scholarships, including the Student Emergency Bursary, and to share a photo of themselves with friends, family or coworkers in a festive sweater on National Ugly Sweater Day on Dec. 16 to show that they had committed their support.

This initiative resonated with RDP Alumni Association’s (RDPAA) board of directors. Two current members volunteered to share their stories as part of the campaign.

Lynne Madsen, RDPAA secretary and an instructor in RDP’s Bachelor of Science, Nursing program, shared her experience of needing emergency financial support near the end of her post-secondary education.

“I received $500 [from the Student Emergency Bursary] and a trip to the Students’ Association Food Bank. This support at this critical time allowed me to finish my program and graduate rather than withdraw and go back to work full-time,” she says in a blog post for the campaign.

Erin Bast, the student representative on the RDPAA, shared how scholarships gave her encouragement and validation that she was on the right path.

“It means the world to me to be able to continue going to school,” she says in a campaign video. “I can’t believe there are people out there donating to our scholarship fund to help students receive an education.”

The RDPAA connected with alumni on social media to emphasize that even small gifts can add up to create a big impact.

“ We all know the struggles that our community faces with the rising cost of living,” says RDPAA chair Courtney Avram. “As alumni, we also remember the unique financial struggles of being a student, including balancing work and other commitments with receiving an education.

“We hope that this donation will not only support our students but that it will remind other alumni and community members of the needs of students and inspire them to show their support as well.”

The fundraising campaign total of $12,600 includes all gifts made to support scholarships up until Monday, Dec. 19.

However, the campaign page remains open for donations through the end of the calendar year. Online gifts made before midnight on December 31 are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

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