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U of R donors step up to support the Student Emergency Fund

Donors like Isabel Bailey are providing crucial support for students during the COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Regina Student Emergency Fund was created to help students who are being hit particularly hard economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. While caring donors have risen to the challenge, the number of applications for the Student Emergency Fund continues to grow each day.

One of those donors who has stepped up to support the Student Emergency Fund is Isabel Bailey. Isabel is a retired school teacher who taught at Regina’s Scott Collegiate for 28 years.

“I was a teacher and education gets into your blood after a while,” Isabel says. “I’ve always contributed to education both at the University of Saskatchewan, where I graduated from, and the University of Regina, because Regina is where I made my living.”

When the pandemic hit, many students who were working in the service industry to support their studies, either had their hours cut or lost their jobs completely. Many of those employers have still not recovered and some may never. While each student story is unique, the recurring theme is that many students who were just able to scrape by before the pandemic hit, are now struggling to make ends meet and cover life’s necessities – never mind focus on their studies.

“I really think that education makes or breaks a life. In my years of teaching I saw students that had potential that they didn’t realize. I thought, what possibilities would they have had if they set their minds to getting an education.”

On the day that Nadine Hiltz, a single mother of two children, was supposed to start a new job, her daughter’s school was closed due to the pandemic. As a result, she was unable to keep her job.

“I am at a loss for income,” says Hiltz, who received her last student-loan payment in March.

A second-year Indigenous Social Work student at First Nations University of Canada (Saskatoon campus), Hiltz is juggling school and full-time parenting, with no access to childcare. Both Nadine’s father and son are considered at a high risk for a serious infection if they catch COVID-19, so Hiltz and her children are in self-isolation from the rest of her family.

“It was extremely difficult to finish the Winter semester,” says Hiltz, who has a three-year-old and nine-year-old. “With the anxiety and worry of the pandemic, and the fact that my son is high risk, it was nearly impossible to concentrate on my studies. When I finally got some downtime to myself, I was too exhausted to work.”

From the moment her son wakes at 6:30 a.m., Hiltz is focused on caring for her children, preparing meals, playing with them, cuddling them, helping them read, bathing them, and cleaning up. Every day, Hiltz and her children travel on a nearby gravel road to collect rocks and find frogs. They return home for quiet time and soon after supper, they start their nightly routine of reading together and getting ready for bed.

With no income, and a full schedule, Hiltz applied to the Student Emergency Fund and received much-needed financial support to help her pay rent and buy groceries.

“I am extremely grateful,” says Hiltz. “Battling this pandemic has been difficult. Financially, it is very scary. I am grateful that the University is helping their students. A lot of people will benefit from this help.”

To date, more than $350,000 has been distributed to 345 deserving students to help pay for necessities like housing and groceries.

If you would like to contribute to the Student Emergency Fund, please visit giving.uregina.ca/give/make-a-gift.

Supporters like you help to make a difference every day.