Applications for the 2021 Olga Cloke Bursary now open

Quick escape link leading to Weather Network websiteQuick Escape Victoria Charron, 2020 Olga Cloke Bursary Recipient

Are you a young woman entering starting post-secondary studies in 2021? You could be eligible for a $750 bursary from YWCA Hamilton!

Applications are now open for the Olga Cloke Bursary, which is awarded each year to a promising student to help fund her post-secondary education. Any young woman who is a resident of Hamilton, a current student, in financial need, and entering a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree program in 2021 is eligible to apply.

Last year’s winner, Victoria Charron, is in her final year of the Speech-Language Pathology program at McMaster University. She applied for the program after her part-time job at McMaster’s pool came to an end when the pool unexpectedly closed due to Covid-19.

“It’s meant a lot. It’s been tough year for a lot of people since the pandemic hit,” she said.  “Every little bit helps, especially when you’re in school.”

The bursary is named after Olga Cloke, who was passionate about being involved in her community. Before Olga’s death in 1974, she acted as chair of the YWCA Hamilton Building Campaign, and was a past District Commissioner of the Hamilton Girl Guides Association. Olga was also a past President of the Zonta Club of Hamilton 1, past Governor of District 4, and also held international positions in Zonta.

The Olga Cloke Bursary was established by the Cloke Family in 1971 to celebrate Olga’s 75th birthday. After Olga’s passing, YWCA Hamilton also established an endowment fund in her memory.

Victoria, who has worked at YWCA Hamilton’s pool in the past and has volunteered for the Good Beginnings and Girl Space programs, says she was “humbled and grateful” to be chosen for the bursary. Her advice to anyone considering applying is not to doubt their accomplishments and qualifications.

“I would say to put your name out there, even if you’re not sure if you’re qualified,” she said. “Every little but that you contribute to the community helps, and this is just proof that it can be recognized.”

After she graduates, Victoria is considering several different avenues to focus her career. Among her interests is gender-affirming voice therapy, which helps those transitioning into a different gender to safely find a voice that is more suitable for their new identity. Victoria says this path combines her interest in gender studies with her chosen path of speech-language pathology.

“I originally thought I would have to choose between gender studies and speech pathology, but this feels like the crossroads of them both,” she said.

Victoria Charron, 2020 Olga Cloke Bursary Recipient
Victoria Charron, 2020 Olga Cloke Bursary Recipient

We are so proud to be able to continue Olga’s legacy by offering support to young women like Victoria. The application deadline for this year’s bursary is May 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. For more information and to download the application, visit our website

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