RAY’s Place builds scholarship fund

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Looking to support students in the upcoming school year, RAY’s Place is offering scholarships to those in post secondary school and exploring ways to support younger students as they choose a career path.

RAY’s Place scholarships are available to students in Clearview and Mulmur Townships and applications are now available at Collingwood Collegiate Institute, Stayner Collegiate Institute, Jean Vanier Catholic High School and Centre Dufferin District High School in Shelburne.

Since the scholarship program began in 2012, RAY’s Place has awarded 12 scholarships and 23 bursaries, totalling more than $250,000.

For the coming school year, there is at least one full university scholarship and $4,000 in bursaries available for the next academic year but Chair Doug Mills said he is hoping there will be more. Eligible students must have an academic average of 80 per cent or higher and demonstrate a financial need. More than 60 applications were considered during the past two years.

Mills said RAY’s Place is launching a new fundraising campaign.

“We have not gone out to the community for two years,” he said. “We wanted to stand back and reassess what we wanted to do.”

The organization was founded as a resource for youth, named for its Rent-A-Youth program (RAY).

In addition to collecting scholarships and other fundraising, RAY’s Place continues to connect young people looking for work with people who need help with odd jobs, but the organization no longer acts as a middleman.

It is also working on reaching students in Grade 7 and 8, to offer resources for career planning.

“We are trying to create an awareness of what’s out there and might be out there in terms of employment opportunities,” said Mills. “With robotics and artificial intelligence, where labour can be replaced by technology, it eventually will be.”

Gone are the days of being able to get a general arts degree and being able to easily find work, said Mills, however service industries are growing.

“We need to be more proactive,” he said.

So, whereas RAY’s Place used to connect with youth through the work program, volunteers are now hoping to connect through seminars, if there is enough interest.

“We are just another resource for youth, along with schools and parents,” said Mills. He said, “If you don’t think five years out, there is no career path planned and who knows where you’ll end up?”

For information about RAY’s Place, including scholarships, donations and summer work, visit www.raysplaceyrc.com or call 705-466-3663 and leave a message. Send donations to PO Box 2052, Creemore, ON, L0M 1G0. Ray’s Place AGM at the Station, Sunday April 23 at 3 p.m. All welcome.

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