News & Events

CapitalCare's Post Secondary Education Funding Program - Bursary Recipients

Each year, the CapitalCare Foundation funds the continuing education of CapitalCare staff through the Post Secondary Education Funding program. Through the generous support of donors and the Foundation, up to $20,000 is disbursed amongst eligible staff enrolled in registered programs at accredited post secondary institutions. Staff receive funding for participating in and completing a variety of work-related programs like nursing, leadership, wound management, LPN studies, and recreation therapy, etc.

The Post Secondary Education Funding program has been in place for over 20 years, and hundreds of staff have benefited from the support. Many bursary recipients have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to providing person-centred care, and here are some of their inspiring stories.

Kapinga ‘Bijou’ Kankolongo – 2023 Bursary Recipient

“I have always been passionate about elderly care, addressing the unique challenges of aging populations, pain management, and quality of life improvement,” says Kapinga ‘Bijou’ Kankolongo, an LPN at the Kipnes Centre for Veterans and 2023 bursary recipient.

Bijou’s passion for providing emotional support to patients and families inspired her to take a Nursing Refresher Program at Bay College, all because she’s dedicated to administering superior care and support for CapitalCare’s residents.

“Receiving a $1,000 bursary from CapitalCare has been a significant milestone in my educational journey. The bursary reduced some of the financial pressures associated with pursuing higher education, allowing me to focus more on my studies and less on the burden of tuition fees and related expenses.”

Beyond her current program, Bijou plans on furthering her education in critical care. She’s interested in caring for the most seriously ill patients, working with advanced medical technology, and being part of a highly skilled medical team. She hopes to one day specialize in geriatrics to address the unique challenges of aging populations and improve seniors’ quality of life.

Bernadine Plares – 2023 Bursary Recipient

Bernadine Plares, an HCA at Lynnwood and a recipient of a post-secondary education bursary in 2023, has been at CCL since 2011. Bernadine was inspired by her children, especially her youngest son David—who is on the autism spectrum—to pursue further education. Bernadine applied for the bursary during the 2nd year of her Practical Nursing diploma and plans to graduate in Spring 2025.

“The generous sponsorship of the bursary helps lower the cost of my tuition fees. Working at Lynnwood gave me the opportunity to work with great colleagues and the flexibility to work and study at the same time,” says Bernadine. “Lynnwood has been part of my journey of personal growth, and this is just the beginning.”

Carla Halfyard – 2022 Bursary Recipient

Carla Halfyard worked as a Centre Practice Leader & Infection Control Designate at CapitalCare Lynnwood when she decided to enroll in a Master of Nursing program at Athabasca University. Carla always knew she wanted to be a geriatric nurse and eventually work in a leadership role.

“The residents are why I come to work each day and why I work with the teams to improve quality within our centres,” says Carla. After completing her Master’s degree, Carla took on the Manager, Quality, Care, and Policy role, which gave her the opportunity to support quality care throughout the organization.

Though Carla knew she wanted to continue her education ever since completing her Nursing Degree in 2010, it sometimes felt like life got in the way. With three kids and a full-time job, the timing never seemed right. But after realizing the timing would never be right, Carla decided to apply to the Master of Nursing program. Excited to be accepted, she was quickly thrown into the challenge of pursuing her studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, which started shortly after beginning her program. Despite the immense challenges, Carla continued to work through her courses, occasionally waking up at 4am to complete an assignment before coming to Lynnwood.

“I took it day by day and made sure my kids weren’t falling behind in their own schoolwork while we maneuvered our way through virtual learning. It was nice to know that CapitalCare supported me on my journey and invested in my education. As a mom of three kids, having that extra bit of financial support was welcomed! And the ease of applying for the bursary definitely made it enticing.”

CapitalCare is grateful for the invaluable contributions made by dedicated staff. Assisting the educational pursuits of the bright and kind staff in CapitalCare’s community is yet another way to Put People First and Empower Others. CapitalCare is committed to supporting the ongoing growth and development of staff to continue delivering quality person-centred care. The generous support and donations to the CapitalCare Foundation allow our staff to pursue their educational goals and provide the best care possible.