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Student earns life-changing opportunity

December 8, 2021

Melinda de L’Eveille, an On Track to Success (OTTS) graduate, has been granted the Bill 7 Award, which includes a $4,000 scholarship for each year Melinda works toward attaining their first post-secondary diploma. The Bill 7 Award is given to just one student from the LGBTQ community across Ontario each year who demonstrates financial need.

In November 2021, Melinda accepted the award in Toronto. They are a first year Film and Television Production student at Humber College.

“Over the course of the past two years, I have watched Melinda struggle financially, which has impacted their choices for post-secondary education,” says On Track On Campus Coordinator Krystyn Hensz. “When Melinda decided to attend Humber College, we knew they would need financial assistance to fulfill their dream of going to college. Melinda planned to live in residence, which is a big step for any young adult, but the expenses can be overwhelming when families are on a fixed income.”

“Although the On Track to Success bursary was able to cover the upfront costs of residence, tuition deposits, meal plans, a new high quality editing laptop, moving expenses and tuition, this depleted Mel’s scholarship fund. In order to cover costs for the remaining years of the program, Melinda and their On Track to Success Coach researched other scholarship possibilities. Melinda’s success coach helped them submit an application for the Bill 7 Award and provided a reference letter.”

“This was a life-changing moment in Melinda’s life,” says Hensz. “Over the past two years, I have watched Melinda overcome many challenges in school and their family life. I have also had the absolute honour of watching and supporting her journey of transitioning. The amount of bravery, trust and resilience Melinda has shown is truly unmatched. Melinda genuinely embodies the values of the Bill 7 Award – a strong LGBTQ+ leader and advocate, who wants to make the world a better and safer place to live.”

In their own words

Melinda is an OTTS graduate

“My name is Melinda de L’Eveille, and my pronouns are she/they.

My involvement with the On Track to Success Program started in grade eleven, when I was at Westview Freedom Academy.

This program played an incredibly important role in improving my academics during the pandemic and served as an essential lifeline when I was gearing up for post-secondary education.

Now, more than ever, the On Track to Success program provides students like me with both academic and financial support. This support is vital to our success.

More about me

camera lens

After having my toes in multiple extra-curricular activities like yearbook, programming as well as leading the Audio-Visual Club at my high school, I was given an incredible volunteer opportunity at YourTV Windsor where I gained experience on pre-recorded productions like That Sports Show, Face to Face, Plugged IN!, Houida & Friends as well as live production work on YourTV’s OHL coverage.

Naturally, after getting a taste of the production environment, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in that field. With the help that the On Track to Success Program provided me, I was able to do just that.”

On Track On Campus

United Way’s new On Track On Campus program, is designed to help OTTS students bound for college or university navigate their first year of post-secondary education. The program, in its first official year of operation, has supported students like Melinda in many ways, including navigating academic platforms and services, mentorship, mental health supports and referrals, as well as housing and job exploration.

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