Student Life Specialist raises $5K for scholarships

Thousands of new dollars for student scholarships will be available this fall thanks to Student Life Specialist Norm Javier and the bicycle journey he says he'll never forget, when he set off from Waterfront Campus on a 500-kilometre trek to Ottawa.

Javier cycled to the annual conference of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services on his 2015 Cinelli Saetta 105, named Stella. He set off for the event on June 8 with the goal of raising $500 for student awards. Three physically and emotionally challenging days later, Javier had raised more than 10 times that amount. He opted to direct the money he raised to the George Brown Foundation Family Campaign, which matches first-time donors' funds. 

Students can apply for scholarships and other financial awards for the 2017 fall term starting August 14.   

A bump in the road 

With the ride now weeks behind him, Javier reflected on the difficult moments during his journey and how he found comfort in his friends and family while on the road. He said he experienced an emotional breakdown during his ride while thinking about a friend and a family member who'd both passed away in the spring. 

"I was 12 kilometres short of my third stop (Smiths Falls) when I finally found some shade on the side of the highway.  I remember stepping off of my bike and watching my bike tip over and hit the ground," he said. "I sat on the side of the road crying for reasons I could not understand in the moment.  I looked at my bike and just could not continue.  It was a moment in my life that I’ll never forget, mainly because I'd never felt so alone in my life until that moment." 

About 40 minutes later, Javier checked his Instagram account – he'd been using it to document his trip – and saw messages of encouragement from his friends, family and George Brown students.   

 "Reading their messages helped me build up some courage to hop back on my bike and start pushing," he said.  "I had 90 km left to finish the next day, and with that extra courage, I made it to Ottawa in three and a half hours." 


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