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Why I Give

Submitted by
Jasmine Nelson

Close your eyes with me. Think back to the day you decided to pursue your post-secondary education. What are you feeling? What are you excited about? What worries you? What do you need? We asked two RDC donors these questions and they shared the stories that inspire them to support students at Red Deer College: 

I donate to Red Deer College because when I was 16 and thinking about my options for college, I knew at my core that my parents couldn’t afford it.  I knew it crushed them that I would be solely responsible for paying my way through school and that I would enter adulthood abruptly, with immediate debt and financial stress. At the same time, we knew that a college education would be the thing to help me find something I love to do and to be successful. 

I relied entirely on scholarships and student loans to pay for my education at Red Deer College, and each semester I was worried that it wouldn’t be enough. I knew that I didn’t have the option to call home to mom and dad if I ran out of groceries or rent money or cash for textbooks.  

I didn’t really realize it at the time, but it was the generosity of people I had never met that made it possible for me to complete my college education. Their willingness to support RDC students allowed me to experience living in Residence, walking the red brick hallways, cheering for the Kings and Queens, getting an education that has allowed me to be successful, and making memories I’ll have forever.   

So, as a thank you to the donors who made it possible for me to have an amazing experience at RDC, and to my own parents for trying to make it possible, I give. Out of a wish that every kid – including my own – who wants to come to RDC can, I give. 

I didn’t head directly to college after high school graduation, as so many of my friends did. Some had a clear and specific picture of what their education and career would look like. Others enrolled in Open Studies at Red Deer College because they weren’t yet sure what they wanted to do with the great big life that awaited them on the other side. For me, and for my family, investment in post-secondary education would be difficult. When I thought about attending RDC, I needed to be sure that the field of study I entered was something I’d love and excel at – I wanted to be able to show my parents and myself that the investment was worth the sacrifices we made. 

The day that I decided to pursue post-secondary education came after years of working and learning on the job. I learned what direction I wanted for my life but I couldn’t put my finger on the next step, so I made an appointment with an RDC Advisor.  I don’t remember his name, but I will never forget what it felt like when he connected the dots for me: there are things I’m great at, things I enjoy, and things I’m passionate about: My path starts at the intersection of all of these things. It was a lightbulb moment for me, and I knew that investing in my program would be fulfilling, lead to employability, and prepare me to excel in, and be satisfied with, my career.  

While I’m happy with the work, life and educational experiences I’ve had, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had started on this path sooner. I know that I would have if I had been less concerned about paying for school. I give to Red Deer College because I believe that everyone should be able to go to college. I believe that the student experience should include things like using cutting-edge equipment, creating exciting and ambitious projects, and trialling innovative solutions in a safe environment. I believe that our entire community benefits from more students being able to access quality post-secondary education .  

When I close my eyes and think back to the way I felt on my first day of classes, I want that feeling for others: the relief of finding my path at the intersection of what I love, what I’m good at and what lights me up and the excitement of taking my first step down that path. That’s why I’m giving to the RDC Student Bursary Fund today. Bursaries are for students who demonstrate a financial need, and are the simplest way to alleviate financial barriers for students. Another exciting thing about this new Fund is that it's up to us, our community, to create. The matching gift makes me feel like we’re all working together for the betterment of our whole community. 

RDC students now have access to more than $1,000,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year, and this number continues to grow thanks to donors like these. A generous, anonymous donor has provided a $500,000 matching gift so that every donation made to the new RDC Student Bursary Fund is matched, dollar for dollar, until the Fund reaches its $1 million goal.  Learn more about this initiative here.

Did you receive scholarship or bursary funding when you were at RDC? Do you give to support existing scholarships? Share your story and inspire others to support RDC students.  

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Main Phone: 403.342.3400
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Email: inquire [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca

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Red Deer, Alberta | T4N 5H5