Dr. S. Ann Colbourne
Sharing the good life
Allowed every opportunity to succeed as a young woman, Dr. S. Ann Colbourne flourished and achieved her lifelong goals.
In a perfect world, everyone would be so lucky. In Dr. Colbourne’s world many will, thanks to her generosity and support of NorQuest College’s 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities fundraising campaign. The 1000 Women movement is a powerful example of women working together for the betterment of the community by raising money to help support the programming and infrastructure needs of NorQuest College, where 63 per cent of the student population is female.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” says Colbourne, who has donated $154,000 to the cause and has been a member of the 1000 Woman Advisory Committee since 2014. “I grew up with security, having all the supports around me in order to do what I wanted to do.”
Since she began practicing medicine in the early 1980s, it has been Dr. Colbourne’s job to diagnose and address the things that make people ill. Her perspective has allowed her to look outside the physical health symptoms and discover a deeper definition of a healthy population.
“I’ve seen some incredibly talented people go home at the end of the day and have another very demanding job to do there too,” says the doctor, whose only ‘children’ are three West Highland Terriers.
However, having spent considerable time caring for her parents at the end of their lives, she understands the challenges of balancing family and work commitments.
“It has always amazed me that, women in particular, are able to keep the family going, raise children and then also contribute in a very meaningful way to the workplace. It takes incredible fortitude and commitment. Sometimes a helping hand goes a long way.”
For her generosity and efforts, the Dr. Ann Playroom in the 1000 Women Child Care Centre located in the new Singhmar Centre for Learning has been named in her honour.
NorQuest Academic Upgrading student Willy Poveda and his family.
Learning English was the goal; feeling at home was the result
New Canadian Willy Poveda can now talk to his neighbours, ask his local grocer which aisle the cereal is on, and order a meal without having to struggle to find the right words.
But despite leaps and bounds in his grasp of English thanks to NorQuest College’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and its English as a Second Language (ESL) training, Poveda credits the programming for helping him learn so much more.
“What was such a great experience was that I started to learn about Canada,” says the 35-year-old Colombian national, who is now part of the Academic Upgrading program. “And not only that, but about things in Edmonton—the festivals, and about all the great things this city has to offer for newcomers. It wasn’t just about learning the language, it was about total integration.”
Poveda arrived in Edmonton from Columbia in 2011 via Montreal. His wife and two children came a year later; it was a scary time. He had a few friends, but the littlest of tasks like asking for directions created a lot of anxiety and feelings of loneliness.
“I heard from a friend who told me to look at NorQuest,” he says. “They said it was very helpful.”
It turned out to be life-changing.
“While I was there I felt so confident. The LINC teacher was always positive and told me that I had a higher than Level 3 understanding. She encouraged me and I moved to Level 5.”
From there, he moved on to the college’s ESL programming, spending one year learning the language in even greater detail. His days now are spent upgrading at NorQuest’s Edmonton Downtown Campus with plans to enter the college’s Pharmacy Technician program next year.
“I remember my first day at NorQuest. I was so afraid to talk. Now, I have learned so much and I am still learning and I am not afraid to talk to people. As a student, I know I can count on the teachers. But NorQuest is not only about the teachers. If you have troubles they have counsellors—people who can help you in many ways and that is so valuable, especially for people just coming to Canada. There is no judgement, just respect. You feel like the people there are your friends.”
Singhmar Centre room named in honour of Zita and Jack Rosen
Robert Rosen attributes his compassion for community and success as President and CEO of City Lumber and Millwork to two special people: his parents.
In honour of their memory, Robert has contributed $25,000 for a meeting room in the Singhmar Centre for Learning, set to open in fall 2017. The Zita and Jack Rosen Meeting Room will be located on the fourth floor of the new 22,500m2 NorQuest Edmonton Downtown Campus addition.
Robert’s parents founded the company nearly 75 years ago. Although it has supplied material for some of the largest construction projects in the world, its foundation is built upon more than profitability, with fundamental values of respect, tolerance, and community. These values are instilled in the company’s office which feature an eclectic variety of photos and art pieces representing different cultures. This, combined with Robert’s welcoming and genuine demeanor, bring a sense of warmth and hominess. It’s the same feeling NorQuest College strives to give its students, who hail from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
“Everybody has the right to be treated with dignity,” he says.
And after watching how his mother ran the family and took a strong leadership role in the business, Robert places an especially high regard for women.
“Be respectful to women,” he says. “And if you’re really wise, you will learn from them.”
More than half of NorQuest College students are women. And similar to NorQuest, Robert believes lives can be transformed through education. One example is Indigenous women in the trades.
“We need to give them a shield of education so they can take care of themselves and their children,” he says.
Robert’s longstanding commitment to NorQuest College includes donating to the Tutorial Centre, student success initiatives, and the Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre.