Many stories regarding the child welfare system and foster care—a program designed to provide a safe, healthy home for kids unable to live with their families—are more akin to horror tales. Lisa Davis, though, found great comfort in the foster home in which she grew up and the social workers who supported her.
“The Children’s Aid Society has had involvement in my life since I was 3, and I became a crown ward at the age of 9,” said Davis. “At 19, I had a daughter, and then a couple of months before my 20th birthday, my foster dad, my only support network at the time, died suddenly of a heart attack. I knew I had to do something with my life, at least for my daughter’s sake.”
She obtained a cosmetician license and enjoyed the work, but knew that her lack of belief in her abilities kept her from her true passion—working with youth in the child welfare system. “I lived with self-esteem issues, thinking that I could never make the grade for university. Obviously I was wrong. I took a credit as a special student and achieved an A-. The decision was made.”
The mother of three, including one with special needs, Davis and her husband have also acted as guardians of her two young cousins. Davis volunteers as board president of a youth center, performs advocacy work and works part time for the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.
“Child welfare has always been the most influential determinant for success in my life; I intend to pour my whole self into that sector,” said Davis, who’s working on a degree in social work at Carleton University.
She will use the $1,000 scholarship for transportation expenses and tuition.
“As a mature student with challenges such as extra transportation costs and the costs of raising children, I have found it really difficult to get the support needed to succeed,” said Davis. “This scholarship will help me with these challenges so I can concentrate on achieving my education goals and make a brighter future for me and my family.”