Bethany Clearwater

Bethany Clearwater

Colwood woman helping girls fund school

A Colwood mom is launching a bursary to help Belmont secondary girls go on to higher education.

As a celebration of International Women’s Day and as a fundraiser for the bursary, Maureen Gusway is holding a dinner, discussion and silent auction at Crossroads Bar and Grill on March 8. Proceeds will go toward her first bursary.

Gusway hopes to seed the bursary with $1,000, which will be open to all female students Belmont secondary.

“I am just doing this because I want to see something happen (for International Women’s Day),” Gusway said.

The bursary idea came after Gusway discovered the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was creating equal access to education.

Having never attended post-secondary institution, Gusway said she knows how limiting it can be without education beyond a high school diploma.

“High school can only take you so far,” said Gusway, a mother of six. “These girls are just getting into womanhood. They don’t know how strong they are or what they can do until they are given the key.

“I want to give money to a woman who wants to better her life.”

While the she was still mulling over the idea of a bursary, Gusway’s friend told her how earning bursaries when she attended Belmont had helped her immensely.

The bursary amount and its criteria hasn’t been finalized yet, but Gusway plans to make it an annual project.

Gusway celebrated her first International Woman’s Day eight years ago at a potluck and since then it has been a powerful holiday for her.

This year the holiday falls on a Tuesday, and Gusway said it’s very important to her that the celebration occur on the exact day.

“International Women’s Day in some countries is a huge affair,” Gusway said. “To me it has more emphasis on women than Mother’s day. Not everyone is a mother, wants to be a mother or can be a mother.”

The International Women’s Day celebration and fundraiser is March 8, Crossroads Bar and Grill, 1889 Island Hwy. The event is all ages and tickets are $22 with $7 from each ticket go toward the bursary (the remainder covers the meal). Dinner is from 6 to 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets or donate towards the bursary, call Gusway at 250-598-6412.  The deadline to arrange tickets is Sunday at 6 p.m.