RAYS holds annual meeting in Creemore

 In Community

Resources for Area Youth Success (RAYS) held its Annual General Meeting at Station on the Green in Creemore on May 5.

It was a well-attended and enthusiastic meeting as the good news of student success as well as donation increases made for a satisfying year. Chair Barbara Lemaire led the meeting with thanks to those so generous in our community by giving of their time as RAYS volunteers as board members, committee members and mentors and to those whose generous donations and sponsorships allow post-secondary education to become a reality for very worthy local students.

Goodbyes and thanks were given to outgoing secretary Serge Lafleur and, after the nomination and voting process, new members of the board – Erin Irish and Betty-ann Patterson were welcomed. Also new are committee members Janet Gillham, Denis Mildon and Susie McLeod. Board nominations approved were Nick Forrest, Craig Lillico and Susan Tremblay who will continue in their respective roles, along with chairperson Lemaire.

Perhaps the most interesting and valuable part of the meeting were the personal reports from four RAYS recipients, two in academic programs and two in apprenticeship programs. Presenting were Michael Noble, now a qualified welder; Kyle Moxham, an apprentice plumber; Graydon Farness, third year Trent University history and education concurrent degree student; and Justin Rowbotham, first year student at Western University in computer science. All four were clearly grateful for the financial assistance that allowed them to enter post-secondary education. However, it was clear to those present that what these students felt contributed most to their success was the mentoring that is included with the scholarships and bursaries. Each recipient is assigned a “friend” to help in anyway they can toward student success. All four spoke of the emotional and mental challenges to their studies which were greatly eased by the ready ear and advice of their mentors.

Michael Noble provided a prime example to the members of success with RAYS support. Having completed his welding apprenticeship with the highest possible standards, he has ended up working in a mine in Nunavut where he supervises 24 welders for the company involved. He works 14 days off and returns to Mulmur for 14 days, allowing him to remain in his community.

During the past year, RAYS has received $91,165 plus an additional $20,000 for an annual total of $111,165. This enabled RAYS to award 13 scholarships and 19 bursaries for 2023. RAYS is clearly making a difference.

As the 2024 application and interview process has begun, it is clear RAYS is ready, willing and enthusiastic to support local youth in the year ahead.

– Submitted by RAYS

Contributed photo: RAYS student Kyle Moxham with Janet Gillham (from left), Nick Forest and Susie McLeod.

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