Student wins Dragon award

An Okanagan College student has won the W. Brett Wilson Prize for an essay she wrote on philanthropy.

Health care assistant student Catherine Links was awarded the $750 prize for her "embodiment of the true spirit of philanthropy in our community," the college says.

Links' project aimed to strengthen care-giver/resident connections in complex care situations.

The prize was established by the Okanagan College Foundation this year in honour of the well-known Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist and Dragons' Den alumni.

Wilson delivered a lecture at Okanagan College in January and spoke about the importance of giving back.

“I am so grateful for this generous prize,” says Links. “It will help me to fulfill the vision I have for a program that will hopefully bring a great deal of comfort and happiness to members of our community requiring complex care.”

Wilson said the message should be that giving back to communities is an opportunity, not an obligation.

"Whether we’re talking about corporate social responsibility for a large organization or individuals and families giving back, the point is that we can all contribute in some way to making our communities a better place," he said. 

“I want to extend my congratulations and appreciation to Catherine Links and to all the students who put forward great ideas for philanthropic projects in the Okanagan. I wish you all much success with these important endeavours.”

Prior to her studies, Links had previously cared for two close family members, which inspired her to consider a career in health care. After enrolling in the program at Okanagan College as a mature student, Links, says she found her true calling.

During her practicum in an extended care facility in Penticton, Links was tasked with caring for a female resident coping with dementia and requiring total care. Through art, music and personal materials gathered with the help of family, Links was able to build a connection.

“Giving back is the most beautiful way to spend one's time. I believe it is the very heartbeat of a healthy society,” explains Links.

Links plans to utilize the funds from the prize to develop as many individually tailored care kits as she can.


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