Dreams Can Come True

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa’s Dare to Dream Bursary Program makes a HUGE difference for kids

Karisa Kamali is a pretty amazing young woman. At age 22, this bright, confident go-getter has a full-time job while also working part-time for a lawyer and attending school  part-time at the University of Ottawa as a fourth-year political science student.
You can’t help but be proud of her: She has a strong work ethic, loads of life skills, solid goals and her future is full of potential. Karisa is making her dreams come true. Somehow, this Ottawa resident has also found time to self-publish a book. It’s called The Art of Attitude. As she notes on her book’s website, www.theartofattitude.weebly.com, “The main  message is that your circumstances do not determine your success, your attitude does!”
Karisa went into foster care at age four. Over the years, she has been supported to continue her schooling through the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa’s Dare to Dream  Bursary Program. It makes a huge difference for kids.
Since 1988, the foundation has provided over $1.5 million in bursaries to crown wards and former crown wards. Each spring, the foundation informs CAS social workers that the call for bursary submissions is open, at which point interested students and their workers complete application forms.
The Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa’s Dare to Dream Bursary Program makes a huge difference for kids. This year the foundation received 57 bursary applications; the highest number of applicants ever. As a result, 53 bursaries, worth over $130,000, have been awarded to students starting school in September.
“I had the honour to receive multiple scholarships over the years because I worked my butt off,” Karisa notes. “My secret is hard work.” Her enthusiasm doesn’t hurt either. The petite, pretty brunette exudes positive energy. The impact of the CAS support is as important symbolically as it is financially, she adds.
“It means someone is investing in your future and believing you can get what you want out of life.”
In this post-secondary student’s experience, “For a person in care to (succeed this way) it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices. You create your own luck with the choices that you make.”
As this year’s many bursaries exemplify, kids in care are making important, positive choices that will serve them well in years to come. Karisa certainly has her sights set on achieving
big things in the future. “I want to be graduated in a year,” she says. Already she has worked on Parliament Hill and she wants to get her masters degree or a law degree – or both – and pursue a career in law or politics.
Another of her goals is giving back. Fifty percent of the proceeds from The Art of Attitude will go to a University of Ottawa Just one Person scholarship for youth in care (wards of the crown) to attend the school.

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