As a brain tumour survivor with low vision, Alicia Chenier is accustomed to overcoming obstacles. She is currently working towards completing her Early Childhood Education degree, with the long-term goal of becoming an advocate for children with disabilities, particularly those who are visually impaired. In 2019, she began documenting her academic, medical and personal experiences on Instagram, to connect with others and help inspire individuals who may be dealing with similar health challenges.
“I want to one day become a role model and advocate for those who have vision loss and other disabilities. Growing up there was never anyone with disabilities in the media I could look up to so now I am being that person” said Alicia. “I often say that ‘I'm a blind girl in a sighted world’. Being visually impaired things aren’t always accessible, but despite the inaccessibility I face, I don’t let that stop me from anything.”
She will be receiving $1,500 to put toward her future educational pursuits, as part of the RBC Future Launch Scholarship program. The RBC Future Launch Scholarship is a new initiative available to Canadian youth, aged 15 to 29, who are not in school or only in school part-time and looking to gain new skills for the modern workforce.
In support of Alicia’s scholarship application, Stephanie Pilon from the CNIB Foundation in Sudbury, where Alicia volunteers and has participated in various workshops, praised her tenacity.
“Her willingness to embrace new experiences and her fantastic sense of humour have helped her to overcome many personal and academic challenges, and she is an inspiration to others”, said Stephanie.
In addition to her academic, volunteer, and other commitments, Alicia also enjoys participating in public speaking engagements, never turning down an opportunity to continue serving as an inspiration for those in her community and beyond.
Alicia is one of over 400 recipients who will be awarded a $1,500 RBC Future Launch scholarship in 2020. The recipients are selected based on their drive, planning and excitement for lifelong learning, and on how they plan to use the funds to pursue a new learning opportunity to start, change or grow their career.