NSCC Foundation

Leonard and Doreen Cherwonka sitting on the grass together in a garden

The Recovery, Resilience, and Journey to Success Award

In memory of Leonard and Doreen Cherwonka.

This award aims to recognize the strength and resilience of students who have experienced trauma as they continue their personal journey of recovery. Initiated by Judy Lewis, a graduate of the Paralegal Services Program, this award honours the values her parents instilled in her. Judy shares,

“This award is in memory of my parents, Leonard and Doreen Cherwonka, both from immigrant families, some of whom arrived through Halifax’s Pier 21 and 2, and who appreciated the importance of helping people get their start, or with starting over. They had a large family, with a modest home, which was a welcoming place, open to everyone they knew and met over the years. There were often people moving from other towns, parts of Canada, or countries, starting new lives in Edmonton. Doreen and Leonard opened their home for people to stay while they found work and housing. There was always extra food prepared in case someone stopped in just before dinner. Everyone was welcome, their home being a revolving door of company and never any expectation of repayment or recognition. So many people got their start through the kindness and generosity of my parents Leonard and Doreen. I hold these values close to my heart and want to honour them with creating this bursary.

I personally believe everyone has a responsibility to give back to the community in some way, and as a mature student who experienced trauma, I feel the best way for me to contribute is to create this bursary in recognition of all survivors of trauma, to help students like I was helped . The awards I received while in school, showed me that I have a community of supporters in my corner who believe in me and the goals I set out to achieve.

I found success at NSCC largely because of my own determination to keep moving forward regardless of my personal barriers and external challenges of our ever-changing world. There were so many times throughout my journey where I felt like I could not do it, but I persevered and chose to get through another assignment or another week to complete another course.

I accomplished more than I thought was possible! I attribute this to NSCC’s outstanding human rights, equity, and inclusion policies that offered me an accommodation tailored to my specific barriers. I owe so much gratitude to the kind support from faculty and the administrative and support staff who collectively gave me the ability to learn the way I learn.

Hopefully, this award will empower students with the inner strength and self-confidence to keep moving forward, never give up, and succeed!

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