Sense Of Community Motivates Social Work Student During Pandemic

Bow Valley College social work student Courtnie-Lee Gallaher was working with special needs children before the COVID-19 crisis reached Calgary in early March. 

As a result of the pandemic, she was laid off from her job, which involved working with children diagnosed with autism. 

“I worked hard to build a trusting relationship with them, which will now have to be rebuilt post-COVID-19, so that is definitely hard,” she says. 

But thankfully, Courtnie-Lee was able to continue her studies online and is nearly finished her program at the College. 

She credits her supporting and encouraging instructors with helping her get through these uncertain times. Like her peers at the College, Courtnie-Lee has had to adapt to new ways of interacting quickly. But through lots of video calls, she and her friends have been encouraging one another to “keep moving forward.”

“Without that sense of community and togetherness, I don’t think I would be able to get through this challenging time without tremendous struggle,” she says.

She added counsellors at Bow Valley College helped refer her to the COVID-19 Response Emergency Financial Need Bursary for support after losing her job. 

Courtnie-Lee is hoping to continue her studies in social work at The University of Calgary after completing her Social Work Diploma at Bow Valley College. She says her experience at the College since August 2018 has been “nothing short of amazing.”

“I’m extremely grateful to have had this experience,” she says.

Through donations to the COVID-19 Response Emergency Financial Need bursary fund, students like Courtnie-Lee can focus on their studies and complete their programs. If you’re interested in donating to another student, contact




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