2013 Grant Winner
First Durham Insurance Recognizes Jillian Smigielski as the First Recipient of a $5,000 Possibilities Grant
(Pickering, Ontario) , October 15, 2013. Today, First Durham Insurance & Financial Ltd. is pleased to announce that twelve year old Jillian Smigielski of Bowmanville Ontario will be the first recipient of their Possibilities Grant.
Today represents the first $5,000 of a 5 year $25,000 commitment made by First Durham to families who have kids with disabilities. In early July, First Durham announced their Possibilities Grant which was developed to celebrate the stories of young people whose efforts have raised awareness of children with disabilities while at the same time helping address the financial challenges that the families of these children often face.
“We couldn’t think of a better candidate to be the first recipient of our Grant then Jillian” said First Durham VP, Bryan Yetman. “Jillian’s story teaches an important lesson to everyone. It shows us that the most effective way to make an impact on your community is to take action. The kind of leadership Jillian displays through her actions is inspirational. We are thrilled to be able to invest what will no doubt be a very bright future for a very driven young lady.”
In total there were 5 applicants for the Possibilities Grant. Submissions were judged by an independent panel of 5 people from both First Durham and Grandview Children’s Centre. “It was not an easy decision as there were 5 very impressive young people nominated for the Grant.” Advises Yetman. First Durham will be making a $500 donation to Grandview on behalf of all nominees.
Jillian’s’ brother Ryan had been left with severe disabilities after he suffered an unexplained hypoglycaemic attack in April of 2008. Determined to give back to the very Organizations that had helped her brother, Jillian, then Nine, began to weave bracelets decorated with a smile bead. Over the course of a few years, through an initiative called “Ryan’s Smile ” Jillian sold her bracelets at $4 a piece managing to raise over $12,000, a donation she divided between Grandview Children’s Centre and Starlight Children’s Foundation.
“With this Grant we will be in a better position to contribute to Jillian’s RESP yet remain focused on paying for Ryan’s care,” says Kelly Smigielski, Jillian’s mother who had to leave her role at the CIBC to be home to care for Ryan. “We are touched by the generosity of First Durham and pleased that they have chosen Grandview at the backdrop of this initiative as Durham needs to be more aware of the magic that happens at Grandview and how it changes the lives of thousands of kids in our Region”
“Jillian story is especially meaningful to Grandview and the over then 5,000 kids we serve” Says Lorraine Sunstrum-Mann, Executive Director for Grandview Children’s centre in Oshawa. “It is a great example of how people can support children living with special needs and we hope the Smigielski’s story inspires residents of Durham to lend their support to kids with disabilities in our Region” Adds Sunstrum-Mann.
On October 15th at 2:00PM Jillian was presented with her Grant at Grandview Children’s Centre photos enclosed.
For more information about First Durham and the Possibilities Grant, please contact:
Bryan Yetman Telephone: 905-427-5888 ext. 122
For more information about Grandview Children’s Centre, please contact:
Lorraine Sunstrum Mann: 905-728-1673 ext. 2258
To lend your financial support visit: www.helpourkids.ca