Remembered as a selfless young woman who always put others first, Hayley Gardner’s spirit is very evident in the Hayley Gardner Memorial Fund. With a motivation not only to keep Hayley’s memory alive but to help others follow their dreams.
A gentle soul with a sparkling personality, Hayley passed away as a result of a vehicle accident in October 2013. At the young age of 15, she had already left an indelible mark on her community. Hayley gave herself willingly to many causes including assisting at the annual Clairmont Seniors luncheon, as a member of the PWA First Responder program, and dedicating her time at National Aboriginal Day festivities as well as the annual seniors Christmas Dinner, along with her sister Shyraun, through the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre youth group.
Due to Hayley’s strong commitment to volunteerism, at the age of 13 she was recognized by the Friendship Centre as an Aboriginal Youth Role Model in the category of Community Service. Hayley led by good example; always offering to help at the end of the evening with no job too big or too small. After Hayley’s untimely death, it was the staff and students at PWA who spearheaded the idea of creating a bursary in her name.
“Hayley left amazing footprints here on Earth and will continue to do so for many of the students at Peace Wapiti Academy through this fund with the Community Foundation.”
Basic Fund Description: to provide a student award to a Peace Wapiti Academy graduate who demonstrates commitment of love and help of others, who has modeled acceptance and tolerance, and has served others before themselves, and to be selected by the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.
The Impact: Since 2014 the Hayley Gardner Memorial Fund Student Award has supported five students in achieving their post-secondary goals. The educational institutions of choice have been varied across Canada and the fields of study these students have chosen are equally varied to include:
- Faculty of Arts, Physiotherapy
- Bachelor of Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Science, Nursing
- Juris Doctor
- Bachelor of Social Work
Dennis Shinski is the recipient for the 2020 year of the fund. He is in his fourth year of a Social Work degree. He was recognized at this year’s recipient for the alignment of values he has with who Hayley, the awards namesake was. Dennis shares that he applied after hearing about it through friends and thought “why not, what do I have to lose.” Encouraging anyone pursuing post-secondary to apply for as many scholarships as they can, stating “every little bit helps.”
Student Awards are open for applications NOW. Click here for more information – https://buildingtomorrow.cloudstudio.ca/student-awards/