Gore scholars eager to give back
The Gore Foundation hosted and recognised Sherona Forrester and Victoria Grant, two very successful former recipients of the Gore Foundation Scholarship, at the Gore Business Centre recently. Gore Foundation’s co-founder, Christine Gore, noted that it was the first attempt by the foundation to reconnect with its many beneficiaries and have them give back to the outreach programmes.
Gore said the foundation has been assisting needy students with scholarships to ease the financial burden associated with tertiary studies for over a decade, but have not stayed in touch with them. However, most have gone on to achieve huge professional success, and she believes it’s time for them to come on board as ambassadors and assist with the many social and educational programmes they continue to sponsor.
“We have lost touch and we are trying to re-establish contact with our scholars. We need to gather everyone. I want to get their ideas about things that would be important in terms of support (for the programmes) and things they want to do with the foundation. We are passionate about education so we want to encourage our scholars to give back to the programme when they are able to,” she said.
SCHOLARSHIPS PROVIDED FOR VARIOUS INSTITUTIONS
Each year, the foundation provides scholarships to students from The University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology (UTech), The Mico University College and several high schools. The foundation also assists the House, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) programme which caters to young people ages 18-24 and a basic schools’ nutrition programme.
“The basic schools, we do nutrition and assist them in other ways, but we have adopted those schools as they need help,” she pointed.
Forrester, the 2017 Rhodes Scholar, and Grant, one of the 2020-2021 Chevening Scholarship recipients, both UWI graduates, said the Gore scholarship came to them at a critical time in their university studies and gave them the help they needed to complete their degrees.
Forrester, who holds a master’s in economics, went to UWI on a sport scholarship and played football, netball and basketball, but the Gore scholarship, she said, allowed her to drop netball, which was damaging her knees.
“It was a pivotal moment in my life when I got the Gore scholarship after not getting two other scholarships I applied for. I was on a sport scholarship, but when I got it (Gore scholarship) it was perfect. If I was on an academic scholarship, I couldn’t have chosen the sport I wanted to do, so I dropped netball and focused on football and basketball, and that was very important because netball was hurting my knees,” she recalled.
The former Reggae Girl enjoys working with youngsters and is more than thrilled to give back to the foundation. “The Gore Foundation paid for my graduate programme. I did a Master of Science in Economics for two years and my tuition was fully covered and I am humbled. I am an educator and an athlete and I like to show life lessons through sports, as sports play an integral role in the development of people, as the skills you learn in sports are so transferable into real life. I am grateful for the assistance I got from Gore and I am happy to know that I will be able to give back to the younger ones. This partnership will grow immensely,” she added.
Grant, who will attend the Imperial College London to study soil mechanics and engineering seismology, explained that it was tough trying to grasp the concept of civil engineering in her first year, while her family was struggling financially. But the grant came when she was at a crossroads and gave her the push to get over the line. “I wasn’t sure if this (civil engineering) was going to work for me, but in my second year of engineering, I fell in love with it. Without the help the Gore Foundation offered me, I don’t think I would have been able to finish. It really came at the perfect time as I wasn’t sure what I was going to do financially and otherwise,” she recalled.
And like Forrester, Grant is quite upbeat about repaying the foundation for helping her in her academic development. “I have also been a part of the basic school programme as I have always admired giving back. I feel proud giving back and being a Gore scholar,” she added.