Monday, June 18, 2018

Calgarian Awarded Robertson College's First Tara Ann Roe Memorial Scholarship


Gabriel Duarte Lopez, a student in the Community Support Worker program at Robertson College, has been awarded the first-ever Tara Ann Roe Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship awards up to $15,000 to an inspiring current or future student of the Community Support Worker Program at Robertson College Calgary.

Gabriel's parents emigrated from El Salvador to Canada when he was young. With his parents having to work multiple jobs to support the family, there was little time left over to help their children adjust and progress in their adopted country. Gabriel's interest in community support work sparked when he saw members of his own family struggle with illness and addiction. The experience motivated Lopez to look for a way to contribute to safer and healthier communities in support of people overcoming similar challenges.

"I remember feeling uncertain and scared about what was happening around me. We were struggling to support ourselves but we were doing our best. I wanted to see things improve for us. That's when I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life," says Gabriel.

The Tara Ann Roe Scholarship was established by Robertson College to honour community champion Tara Roe, who was one of the 58 people who tragically lost their lives on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tara is remembered as a remarkable human being who was known for always putting the needs of others before her own. She was a dedicated and caring teacher's assistant for children with autism and often volunteered at community events.

"Tara led an extraordinary life. Her desire to give back to the community has touched us all. This scholarship is our way of keeping her legacy alive while giving back to the community. Robertson College is pleased to recognize Tara's legacy while also helping a young man give back to his community with newly learned skills," notes Dean Olsen, Campus Director, Robertson College Calgary.

Growing up, Gabriel may not have been equipped with the knowledge or maturity to help his family deal with their personal struggles but now he feels confident that his education will equip him with the knowledge and skills needed to assist families facing similar hurdles.

As his time at Robertson College draws to a close, Gabriel is already looking forward to the day when he can start helping others in his new career.

"With the knowledge and training that I received from Robertson, I feel that I have the ability and the skills to positively impact someone's life, just as Tara did. I hope to make a difference in people's lives."