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Urgent aid for urgent matters: Meet Jessica Burke

Photo of Jessica Burke.
Jessica Burke, NSCC Urgent Aid Recipient (Esthetics '14, Business Administration '23).

Facing the unexpected

Even with careful planning, going back to school comes with challenges and unexpected circumstances. Jessica Burke discovered this firsthand while pursuing her Business Administration Diploma at NSCC Burridge Campus.

One week before starting the program in 2021, she learned she was pregnant with her son. When faced with the decision of either staying in school or putting her plans on hold, she ultimately decided to continue her education. On the first day of her second semester her son was born prematurely, which turned into a long stay away from home at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax.

Asking for help

While at the IWK, Jessica reached out to her instructors to ask about continuing her studies online so she could balance caring for her newborn son and completing her classwork. “If I hadn't been able to do it online, I wouldn't have been able to do it at all because we lived at the IWK for four months,” said Jessica.

While thankful for the flexibility to complete her classes online, the cost of commuting between her home and the IWK caused the bills to start piling up. One of her instructors encouraged her to explore NSCC’s Urgent Aid program to help with the unexpected financial challenges.

“I applied for Urgent Aid because we were driving back and forth to spend time with our daughter at home in Yarmouth and our son at the IWK,” said Jessica. “It’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive so gas was expensive. Receiving Urgent Aid was just a bit of relief, like we're getting there.”

Grateful, proud and thriving

 Through Jessica’s perseverance, and with the help from Urgent Aid, she finished the semester and proudly graduated with honours. While reflecting on the experience she’s grateful for the support.

“Had it not been for NSCC's willingness to adapt and understand, I would not have been able to graduate. Looking back, it was a big hurdle and NSCC was good about it,” said Jessica,

Today, the proud alum works with the YMCA's Recognizing Enhancing Aligning Community Horizons (YREACH) program as settlement staff for Immigration Services, a job she loves. She’s working with newcomers to Canada to help them get settled and adjusted to their new lives here. She recalled a recent story with one of her clients, one of the many reasons she’s proud of the work she does.

“I'm so happy. Today, a client I helped travel to Toronto to pick up their parents, spouse and dog they hadn’t seen in four months, and they brought their dog into the office for me to see," said Jessica. "So that was the best. It feels really nice to know that I helped them see their family.”

Make a difference through Urgent Aid

Programs like Urgent Aid are only possible thanks to the contributions of donors, like you. By donating to Urgent Aid today, you help students like Jessica thrive regardless of what is thrown their way as they work toward their goals. To get in touch about giving to Urgent Aid, please contact us:

Phone (toll-free): 1-866-745-7919 | Fax: (902) 491-4828
Email: Donate online today

Return to Winter 2023 Update