The Central Okanagan Foundation celebrated their 40th Anniversary by awarding five deserving post-secondary students with a $1500 scholarship from the newly created Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Spirit Scholarship Fund. Each of the five scholarship recipients is to be featured in articles that highlight their volunteer work and their education/career goals as part of this “COF Volunteer Spirit Scholarship Series” between July 5 and July 14.
Serena Slonowski’s volunteer work stretches all the way back to junior high school.
As a member of the Girl Guides of Canada, she volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, made lunches for the homeless, and entertained care home residents.
Slonowski continued helping others through high school as a peer tutor for math and science and as a member of the student council.
She was responsible for planning school events like pep rallies, Remembrance Day, grad activities and editing the yearbook.
It was important for her to be a part of helping others and to have a positive and memorable school experience.
More recently, Slonowski volunteered at Holy Family Nursing Home for more than five years in Winnipeg, before moving to West Kelowna, and is now volunteering at the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Center where she gives weekly private swimming lessons to children with special needs through Swimability.
She plans to continue to volunteer for Swimability, would like to be an assistant coach for girls’ volleyball this fall and also aspires to volunteer internationally.
A love for science has Slonowski majoring in biology at UBCO, studying to become a forensic scientist.
She hopes to use this background in science to open a “mad-scientist” type camp for young kids so she can inspire a love of science in younger generations.
Her mom’s unconditional support is what inspires her to be so supportive of others who may be in need.
She is highly independent and driven for success, even taking on an evening job at Montana’s to pay down her own student loans.
Receiving the Volunteer Spirit Scholarship will make it possible to work less so she can focus more on her studies and volunteer activities.
When she finds some downtime among volunteering, studying, and working, she enjoys playing competitive sports or traveling.
Traveling, she adds, is what inspires her to want to volunteer globally in the future.