Scholarship Recipient Defies Odds and Channels Success

Shanika was just seven years old when she moved from Jamaica to be reunited with her mother who had already been living in Canada for 5 years. With child-like optimism, Shanika eagerly anticipated living with her mother again, but she could not have imagined or predicted the trauma that awaited her. Due to a tenuous relationship between Shanika and her mother it did not take long before CCAS became involved. By her 15th birthday, Shanika was a Crown ward and afraid of what life in-care would be like for her. Always optimistic, Shanika attests that it was her attitude that made all of the difference. “I always knew I had to be successful and I took coming in to care as an opportunity to do just that,” says Shanika.

Today, Shanika is a university graduate with tremendous drive and enthusiasm. She is also a CCAS volunteer and is employed part-time at a shelter. Last year Shanika completed Ryerson University’s Social Work program. She was a Hope for Children Fund scholarship recipient and says the scholarship had an enormous impact on her life.

“It meant a lot. It meant that there are people rooting for me. It meant that I was doing something right and I was being recognized for succeeding,” said Shanika. “I went to the awards ceremony. There were so many kids doing positive things in the community. It meant a lot to see there are children succeeding regardless of their circumstances.”

Shanika plans to pursue her Masters in Social Work, then become a child and family counselor with hopes of eventually opening her own practice. “I am on my way to success. My goals do not end at finishing school. They transcend beyond that,” says Shanika.