Education
 Canada
Project #15874

Inspiring Futures: AboutFace Scholarship Program

by AboutFace
Vetted
Jade at his highschool graduation
Jade at his highschool graduation

Before I participated in AboutFace programs such as Family Day and Camp Trailblazers, I was just an average kid, going to school, hanging out with my friends, and completing my homework. The only thing that made me stand out from the world was my Apert Syndrome. While I, myself, have not had to deal with staring, teasing, and bullying like I know many kids with facial differences do, I still feel a sense inside me that I should use my career to educate people.

I want to educate people about facial differences and many other minority groups who have had to deal with hard times in the past just because they have a facial difference, they follow a different religion, or are raised within a different culture. To me, multiculturalism is what defines Canada on the world stage. Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms signals to the world that we are proud of being a multicultural country. However, what we have today does not change the past and the horrible events that have targeted specific ethnicities/religions. What if there was a future genocide that targeted people just because they have a facial difference? I know that I do not want an event like that to happen, and from my education, I also know that a person’s hate or fear of a certain ethnicity or culture comes from a lack of education. This creates a connection with my future career plan to become a teacher. As a teacher, I will educate students about the horrible events and other difficulties that many different cultures and religions have had to face in the history of the world.

At Camp Trailblazers, I have heard many stories from my AboutFace friends about the struggles they have faced because of their facial difference. These stories make me realize that theyall started because of an intolerant person who did not fully understand what it means to have a facial difference. I am just one person, but this scholarship has the potential to help me pursue my teaching career plans, and as a teacher, I would be sure to stress the importance of tolerance and how intolerance has led to many problems throughout history and in the present time. With this scholarship, I would be using my teaching lessons to educate the children of the future on the importance of being tolerant and respectful to one another, regardless of facial appearance, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Stereotypes exist because of intolerance, and my education would benefit from this AboutFace Scholarship.

Thank you for your support of AboutFace, it helps students like me embark on a career path to help change the world.

- Jade

I was just two weeks old when my mom made the call to AboutFace from a SickKids hospital room. Because of that call, I grew up in a second family of wonderful, unique, hilarious and intelligent human beings. Being involved with AboutFace is one of the most rewarding and life changing experiences I could ever have asked for. The organization helped me to understand the positives that could come with looking different. Because of AboutFace and my facial difference, I am motivated to make a change. I want to impact lives the way AboutFace has impacted mine. Through being a volunteer, I have gained confidence and the ability to talk with almost anybody, whether it be medically related or just a simple chat. Seeing volunteers who are allies of the facial difference community has made me realize how one can make a difference and reach out to others, even if they may not have lived one’s journey. This has inspired me to pursue a career in social services, either as an advocacy lawyer or a social worker. Through listening to individuals’ stories of triumph and struggle, I have realized that I want to spend my time aiding others through their path of life. I want to help children, adults and everyone in between who may not have the opportunity to use their voice. I want to stand beside them when they do. AboutFace has motivated me to be involved with Human Rights. This organization has instilled a love of people in me. Even if I am able to make a change in one person’s life, I will feel immensely accomplished. Through public speaking at AboutFace events, I have gained the courage to speak up about what I believe in. I know that this skill will come in handy, whilst in a courtroom or hospital.

Aside from AboutFace, I have had the honour to be a member of the SickKids Children’s Council for four years. This role has given me the freedom to approach issues regarding patient care, collaborate with others on ideas, and gain leadership experience. I feel so fortunate to be able to give back to a hospital that has done so much for me and my family.

Perhaps one of the most specific events that shaped my future ambitions was attending Camp Trailblazers. I have made life-long friendships and memories while being a camper at Trailblazers for 8 years. My time at camp has also given me the chance to meet others from all walks of life. I now firmly believe that being a “Trailblazer” means adapting a judgment-free mindset, whilst recognizing others’ hardships and accomplishments, regardless of how significant they may be to me. One year at camp, I remember distinctly receiving the “cheerleader award.” To this day, I continually strive to live up to that award, and I want to thank AboutFace for always cheering for me.

Christine and her scholarship
Christine and her scholarship

My name is Christine and I was  one of the 2010 AboutFace National Scholarship recipients. This scholarship gave me the chance to study at the University of Toronto, where I completed a double major in sociology and anthropology, as well as a minor in history. University was a wonderful experience! I enjoyed my classes and loved my professors. I joined numerous clubs and also got heavily involved in student life. Currently, I am taking a year off to relax but also to gain experience in the workforce, before deciding what I definitely want to pursue as a postgraduate. My ultimate dream career would involve working with kids in some capacity, more specifically as an elementary school teacher.

It is truly an honour to be a scholarship recipient of a special organization very close to my heart. I love what AboutFace stands for and am grateful for the programs and services they provide for the facial difference community. AboutFace presented me with opportunities to develop and build on necessary skills allowing me to grow as an individual; enabled me to gain confidence in myself and step outside my comfort zone; and last but not least, gave me a support network of friends whom I now call my second family. I love giving back to AboutFace in any way I can because this organization has done so much for me. If it were not for the love, support and encouragement I have received from the AboutFace community, I would not be who I am today. Thank you AboutFace and everybody who supports AboutFace for all that you have done for me and all that you continue to do!

Braidy
Braidy

In 2013, I was honoured to be a recipient of the AboutFace Scholarship Award. Receiving this award not only lessened the financial burden of my post-secondary education, but also being recognized by an organization that has been such a huge part of my life meant more than words can say. I went to AboutFace’s Camp Trailblazers for five years, which allowed me to forget all about the struggles I was faced with in everyday life. Camp allowed me to be myself. The friendships I made are ones that I am certain will last forever!

I am currently finishing up my final semester at Brock University where I am enrolled in their Child and Youth Studies program, with a specific focus in psychological disorders. In the future I am looking forward to a career working with children and youth suffering with mental health disorders. I look forward to the possibility of volunteering with AboutFace in the future!

 

-Braidy M

Amanda at camp her first time
Amanda at camp her first time

The AboutFace Feeling

I titled this story "The AboutFace Feeling" because there is certainly an incredible, wonderful, powerful and special feeling that comes with being a member of the AboutFace community.

I was 13 when I first discovered AboutFace's Camp Trailblazers. I had never heard of AboutFace before but I had always loved camping so I thought it would be neat to go. As September drew nearer and I thought more about camp, I became hesitant. I had only met a few people with facial differences before and I had always been very shy and nervous when it came to meeting new people.

When I arrived at our meeting place before getting on the bus, I questioned myself for the last time, “What are they going to be like? Are they going to stare at me?  Or are they going to be nice and friendly?”  I thought about it and thought about it and I finally decided that I would give it a shot. Today, I cannot possibly describe how happy I am to have stepped on that bus several years ago because that was where The AboutFace Feeling began.

At camp, it is a totally new environment. It's a place where I fit in, a place where I belong. We all share a common understanding of living with a facial difference and it gives us this indescribable connection. We bond instantly and we all become friends. Everybody becomes one and everybody is accepted for exactly who they are.There are never any cruel words, only positive encouragement and support. I have made several amazing friends that I still keep in contact with, to this day, 5 years later. Camp Trailblazers is truly an experience of a lifetime and is definitely a place that makes me feel very proud to be me!

I believe AboutFace has significantly shaped me into who I am today. It has helped me to accept my facial difference and acceptance was the key to loving me for who I am. AboutFace has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and to really let my true self shine. It has given me my self-confidence, my happiness, and many irreplaceable friendships. I have become stronger and much more positive since I have been involved with AboutFace and it has helped me to become the more accepting and loving person that I am today. I owe alot to AboutFace, and my goal in life is to thank them by making a difference in other people’s lives.

I continue to spread the word of AboutFace and CampTrailblazers to countless people I come in contact with, hoping to raise awareness of AboutFace. I share my stories of how Trailblazers has been a remarkable, life-changing experience and I encourage many new young people to give it a try because I know they won’t be disappointed.  I volunteer my time where and whenever possible and I have held many fundraising events in my school and elsewhere with the hopes of my contributions somehow giving other people like me the chance to experience The AboutFace Feeling.

Before becoming involved withAboutFace, it was as if there was something missing inside of me. And now, because of AboutFace, there is no longer that feeling of emptiness; instead, there is a feeling of fulfillment and being alive. This is The AboutFace Feeling.

Amanda at camp several years later
Amanda at camp several years later
Amanda and friend from camp
Amanda and friend from camp
Amanda and friend from camp
Amanda and friend from camp
Amanda and friend from camp
Amanda and friend from camp

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Organization Information

AboutFace

Location: North York, Ontario - Canada
Website: http:/​/​www.aboutface.ca
Project Leader:
Colleen Wheatley
Manager, Client Programs and Services
North York, Ontario Canada
$550 raised of $8,000 goal
 
11 donations
$7,450 to go
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