Daniel S.


2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of British Columbia

As the primary provider, my father did whatever he could to support our family. As immigrants from Colombia, life was not easy for my parents, especially my father, who worked to exhaustion day and night to put food on our plates. Unfortunately, my father was injured in an accident after falling off a ladder while working on my neighbour’s gutters. I was six years old and I can still remember seeing my father lying crippled on the ground, in agony. From that point on, I knew my life was going to change, and it did.

The grieving of our loss severely impacted us, especially my mother, since we were unprepared to cope with the financial hardship to follow. My mother could not speak English well, had no support from her Colombia-based relatives, and was unemployed. Although my mother attempted to work, she could not maintain her job because she had to take care of my siblings, especially as my youngest brother underwent surgery to remove a cell tumour shortly after my father’s passing. My mother struggled with depression, post-traumatic stress and kidney problems. She also underwent surgery for the removal of a kidney tumour, and had a slow recovery.

Growing up, my sister and I cooked for the family, packed lunches for school, did chores around the house, and helped each other with homework. When I was old enough, I took on larger responsibilities, including several part-time jobs to supplement our finances. I work as a hockey official and as a basketball assistant coach. These jobs help me save money to afford clothing, shoes and athletic equipment, and help my family pay for food and medications.

My father had minimal life insurance coverage, mainly because he found it difficult to afford and because he never thought that he would die at a young age. With no familial financial support and inadequate life insurance, my family of four struggled.

Adequate life insurance would have relieved my family from a great amount of financial hardship, especially since my brother, sister and I want all to obtain higher, post-secondary education. Also, with adequate life insurance, we would be able to access counselling support to help us with our grieving and mental health. We would not have had to make sacrifices, such as moving into an older and smaller unit to afford rent (with many problems such as broken pipes which cause floods, ant infestations, and cool winters since the heater is broken), and worry less about our health care expenses.

My father’s death made me realize that life is too short. I gained a deeper appreciation of the blessings in my life and took the initiative to make a difference in my community by volunteering over 100 hours a year. My life experiences have inspired me to study economics to become a financial advisor. I want to help others and make sure that no one has to struggle as I did by constructing personalized financial plans for others, which achieve their financial goals.

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