When leaders at Anannya Xavier’s Newcomer Youth Leadership Development program at the YMCA first mentioned the CIBC Youthvision Scholarship, she took immediate notice. Each year, CIBC partners with the YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada to provide youth in need from across Canada with the opportunity of a lifetime by supporting their academic dreams through tuition assistance, summer work placements, and a mentorship program throughout their studies. Ananya decided to apply because she fit the criteria and financial need, “especially being a newcomer.”
Ananya was thrilled to find out that she was selected as one of the winners after a formal application and review process, “I remember the day very clearly,” she says, because she was feeling sick. “Expecting the call to be my mother checking in on me, I blurted out a groggy hello.” But instead of her mother on the other side of the line, she was introduced to Jaycee Cubos, the manager of CIBC National Programs. Jaycee delivered the news that Anannya was selected. “I was ecstatic, buoyant, and all thoughts of my sickness vanished!”
Over the past 18 years, the CIBC Youthvision Scholarship program has made an incredible difference in the lives of over 500 students with annual support of over $1 million to deserving individuals across Canada. Awarding the scholarship during high school not only relieves future financial stress, but motivates teens to do better by building confidence and self-esteem, encouraging independence, and prompting life and education planning. The well-being of the students’ families is also supported with free YMCA family memberships.
For Anannya, her largest take-away was the diverse work experience she gained through her four summer internships. As a part of the funding, her scholarship paid for a portion of her tuition at University of Toronto Scarborough, and provided opportunities for her to directly earn the rest of her tuition through paid positions at the YMCA of Greater Toronto each summer. “I have worked at several YMCA locations,” she says. “The friendly people and diverse working environments have given me a chance to learn invaluable skills, such as handling different situations harmoniously, working with children and people from all walks of life, and helping newcomers to settle into life in Canada. ”
Anannya currently studies Environmental Geoscience and hopes to travel the world as a geoscience consultant, working in various fields such as oil research and environment conservation. Going through her first year of university free of student loans and with summers rich in experience, she says, have been able to “empower me to live the life of my dreams.”