Jun 10, 2015


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Shannon van Leenen

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Bow Valley College Launches 1000 Women Rising Campaign

CALGARY - Bow Valley College (BVC) unveiled the 1,000 Women Rising Campaign at a breakfast launch at the BVC South Campus on June 10, 2015.

This initiative has a simple, but powerful goal: 1,000 women rising up to help other women finish their post-secondary education and achieve their career ambitions. Our aim is to raise $1 million in funding support to assist our female students in overcoming barriers to learning.

At the launch, Sheila O'Brien and Kevin Peterson announced their $100,000 pledge. This is a matching gift to help encourage others to participate in the initiative. For every dollar donated, matching contributions, up to $100,000, will be made to the campaign. RBC's Tasha Giroux, Regional Vice President - Commercial Financial Services, Alberta & Territories, presented a $5000 donation from her bank towards the initiative. The total raised so far today was $120,940.

"This support makes a difference, not a subtle one that plays out at the margins. It is meaningful and enduring, this extraordinary power of 1,000 women rising above the constraints of circumstance," said Sharon Carry, AOE, Bow Valley College President and CEO. 

The 1,000 Women Rising Campaign will aim to make a difference in four areas:

1)      Return to learning

The fund will provide support for students who withdrew from their studies and want to return, but who face financial or other barriers that, with minimal assistance, can be overcome to get the student back on track.

2)      Child care bursary

Most BVC learners qualify for government childcare subsidies. But even with these supplements, they can still face a substantial expense, which might lead them to withdraw from their program. This bursary will provide eligible learners with funds for child care expenses to support care at a facility, day home, or after-school care program.

3)      Financial aid

The 1,000 Women Rising Finish Line Fund will be used to provide financial or academic assistance for at-risk learners, to a maximum of $2,500 per student. The fund will improve the rates of program completion, and subsequent employment for our female learners by providing funding support for students who need additional, individual tutoring, or students who face financial barriers.

4)      Learning technology

This fund will help erase the digital divide for our female learners by helping them to acquire computers and laptops for classroom use, delivering responsive programming, increasing learning flexibility, and connecting students to online learning experiences and support.

Linda Olsen of Global News Calgary helped to host this event. Olsen's distinguished journalism career has seen her work to support women, including hosting and producing the award winning Woman of Vision series.

For more information on the 1,000 Women Rising Campaign, and to find out how you can make a difference please go to 

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Editor's Note:

Sheila O'Brien is well-known not only for her long career in the energy sector, but also for her volunteer service and board leadership for many community organizations - ranging from the Alberta Status of Women Action Committee, YWCA of Calgary, Alberta College of Art and Design, the Canadian Mental Health Agency, Foothills Hospital, and most recently chaired a two year national task force on Human Sex Trafficking. Her husband Kevin Peterson is an award-winning journalist and former Publisher of the Calgary Herald.  Kevin is also as a former member of the Board of Governors for Bow Valley College.

Bow Valley College - Calgary and region's only Comprehensive Community College - with more than 14,000 full- and part-time students, is a leader in business and health career training, adult upgrading, and English Language Learning. BVC's Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES), workplace training for immigrant professionals and employment services provide a wide range of services for businesses and professionals. 

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