For 19-year-old Josée Sparks, the Paul C.J. LeBlanc Memorial Bursary will not only help her at university, it’s an inspiration for her to succeed in life.
Josée, a second-year psychology major at the Université of Moncton, is one of two recipients this year of Ability New Brunswick’s newly created $1,000 bursary.
The bursary is in memory of Paul C.J. LeBlanc, a passionate advocate in New Brunswick who believed that all students should have the opportunity for education. Paul died in August, 2021, after a successful career as a public servant and an impassioned spokesman for the rights of persons with a disability.
“It is humbling to know someone paved the way for me to have so many options in life and to live and grow at a university,” Josée said of Paul. “It’s worth noting and remembering the amazing things Paul did. I’m very honoured for this opportunity and to be given this money to help prosper.”
Josée, who has cerebral palsy, said she was deeply moved when she learned of Paul and his fight for education at a time when there was little accommodation for those with a disability in many walks of life.
Josée said she also has been helped by Ability New Brunswick’s Transition NB program, which has helped her get a wheelchair and adaptive controls for her car. She said she feels Ability New Brunswick is “in her corner” and it’s a very good feeling.
“Sometimes you are helped by someone and you can feel that they are not really happy to help, but that is not the case with Ability New Brunswick,” she said. “They are always eager to help and be kind. That’s not something you can take for granted and not something you see all that often. Having that security of someone helping you, it makes a world of difference. I know I always have someone in my corner who is willing to help.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the Paul C.J. Memorial Bursary can donate at https://www.abilitynb.ca/donate/ and note in the message that the gift is for the bursary.