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Langara partners up with Covenant House to offer volunteers free courses


Reported by Clare Hennig

Langara’s Continuing Studies Program has partnered with Covenant House, an organization that helps homeless and at-risk teenagers, to offer free classes to some of its volunteers.

This is the first time Covenant House will offer a program that targets volunteers specifically. Michelle Clausius, associate director of development and communications, said there are about 130 volunteers and their contributions equal two-and-a-half full-time positions.

“We have volunteers, some of whom who have been with us for twelve years, so being able to offer them this [partnership] is wonderful,” said Clausius.

Volunteers will still have to pay for course materials and textbooks

The volunteers will have access to 13 fee-waived credits each semester, across six programs. The courses must already have reached minimum enrolment numbers and the initiative only covers tuition, not course material or textbooks. This means the program benefits the students without costing the college.

John Neuls, coordinator for the real estate program, came up with the idea. He wanted to do something to reward the Covenant House volunteers who dedicate their time to helping others.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity to give people the benefit of Langara College at no cost,” Neuls said. “We’re doing something for an organization that’s benefiting our community, so that’s good news. There is publicity for both the entities by partnering,” he said.

A similar partnership has been in place between Langara’s continuing studies and Canuck Place since Oct. 13, 2013.

Raymond Chow, program co-ordinator for computer technology, headed the earlier initiative and said the process has been much faster this time. It took a year and half to figure out all the logistics the first time; this time, it took three months.

Volunteers from Covenant House will be selected in the coming months and enrolled in classes for January.

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