Thorpe family celebrate a decade of giving

Penticton's Rick and Yasmin Thorpe are celebrating a milestone by further increasing their generosity to students.

Corrie Knapp

Corrie Knapp

Upon reaching 10 years of granting students in the South Okanagan with sizeable scholarships, Rick and Yasmin Thorpe are celebrating the milestone by further increasing their generosity.

“If we can educate students closer to home then there’s a good chance they’re going to stay at home, get jobs here, and some of them are going to create business and economic opportunities here in the Okanagan,” said Rick, who served as MLA for Okanagan-Westside from 1996 to 2009.

“We’re also parents and grandparents,” Yasmin said. “When our children went away to school we were empty-nesters so it was hard. It’s a bit of a selfish thing on our part wanting the students to stay close to home.”

The couple launched the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund in 2006 and have donated over $70,000 to Okanagan College. After this year’s contribution, that total will be nearing six figures with the couple dishing out $25,000 in 2015 alone. In addition to that, the Thorpe’s donated more than $50,000 in scholarships over the same period of time for students attending UBC Okanagan.

The scholarship’s criteria has been tailored for the South Okanagan. To be eligible, students must expect to graduate, or have graduated, from a high school within the boundaries of the Okanagan-Westside riding, and be registered in a full-time program at Okanagan College.

Recipients must be undertaking courses in business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism/hospitality, trades, technologies, English or creative writing, science or nursing.

One recipient from last year was nursing student Corrie Knapp, who was able to ease her debt load with help from the Thorpe’s.

“I didn’t have enough money to pay for car insurance or my phone bill,” she said. “The scholarship came just in time to cover those bills. I got it in my second semester so it helped me pay for the things I needed until I was out of school and could be working my summer job.”

Knapp said the nursing program is expensive, and with a heavy workload, she isn’t left with enough hours in the day to work part time.

Without receiving the scholarship she said she probably would have had to take out another loan or see if she could borrow money from her family.

Knapp is studying nursing to gain the skills needed for aid work in developing countries.

“I’ve always been interested in doing something medical, and I’ve always known that I wanted to do missions work,” she said. “I want a career that can be applicable anywhere without the need for a whole lot of equipment.”

Knapp’s ambitions to work overseas support Yasmin’s belief that a good education can take a person anywhere they want.

“Growing up in the Caribbean my dad was adamant about education,” she said.

While all post-secondary education is likely to open new opportunities, Rick believes that receiving it locally yields even better results.

“Based on my own experience, if we can educate our young adults closer to home, and they can get the degrees and education here, there’s a very, very good chance they’re going to stay in the area,” Rick said. “If we get them educated at one of our fine colleges or universities then they have a very good chance of getting opportunities here in the Okanagan.”

After helping students in need for 10 years, Rick said each recipient has shown themselves to be very thankful, “and they all tell us that this money will help them tremendously achieve their dreams.”

The scholarship’s criteria is partially subjective.

“It’s going to be based on how are they doing at school, but not dependent totally on the brightest student with the highest marks,” Rick said. “It’s a combination of that and their financial needs.”

Staff at Okanagan College will be reviewing applications and compiling a shortlist.

Kathy Butler, executive director for Okanagan College Foundation, said the Thorpe’s understand the transformative power of education.

“That level of giving really makes a difference for people who are finding it quite challenging financially to be able to stay in the community and go to school, and the fact that the Thorpe’s have increased the number of awards in celebration of their 10th anniversary is pretty special,” she said.

To encourage even greater participation, Rick and Yasmin will be visiting the high schools in the area to inform counsellors of the opportunity.

To find the application guidelines online, visit okanagan.bc.ca/awards and search for a program that qualifies.

 

Just Posted

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that currently has Highway 1 closed in both directions, according to DriveBC. (Black Press staff)
Hwy 1 closed in both directions east of Chase due to vehicle incident

Detour is in effect and drivers are encouraged to reroute to Highway 97 or Highway 97B

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

Most Read