You use the phrase “Pick up a book, not a gun,” on the website. Why is this there?
We hope that you have never encountered or been involved in any form of gun violence. If you have, but are now not involved in any way with gun violence, the Award wants to encourage you and others to stay away from guns in the future. Even more, if you have taken on some sort of activity or leadership role against gun violence, we applaud that.
You do not have to have experienced gun violence or working against it to be eligible for this Award. By offering the Award for someone pursuing his or her education, training or career, we want to motivate that person and others to continue on a positive path that leads away from violence and may positively influence others to do the same.
You want me to describe in my essay the life challenges I have overcome. What sort of challenges do you mean?
It is up to you to decide what has been a significant personal challenge in your life and how you believe you have overcome it. Different things create challenges for different people. Some examples are homelessness, poverty, mental or physical disability, addictions, street or home violence, poverty, unemployment, a criminal record, grief or trauma or school suspension, ejection or withdrawal. You don’t have to write in great detail (essay is only 500 words), but enough to give us a sense of what you faced.
You are giving out the Award in two amounts of $750, the first on proof of registration in a training course or post-secondary programme, the second on proof of completion of the course or one semester at college or university. I need to pay for my course up front. Why won’t you pay out the full amount right away?
This Award has been funded by donations received from Gabe’s family, friends and members of the public. The Foundation has a responsibility to its donors to make sure donations are used for education or training. Like many awards and scholarships, we think we can accomplish this by paying out the award in two amounts, one at the start of training or the educational period, and the second upon completion. The second amount will be paid out in under one year. The Foundation’s Board will work with the winner to determine what will be considered as “successful completion”, i.e. one semester, completion of an apprenticeship or private vocational college programme.
You say that the winner, if at all possible, should attend an event in Toronto in August to receive the Award. What if I am out of town, working or ill and can’t be there?
The event is an annual memorial fundraiser in Gabriel Nikov’s memory. It raises money for the Foundation so that we can continue to offer the Award in future years, perhaps to more than one person eventually.
We want to be able to celebrate the Award with you and introduce you to the Foundation’s supporters and donors. We think the winner’s attendance will be a highlight at the event, will inform other youth about the availability of the Award, and will positively inspire those who attend. We hope as well that in future years, winners will stay connected and become a force for positive change for youth in the Greater Toronto Area.
Winners should be aware that the media will be in attendance at the event, and may be asked for permission for their name, age and photo to be shared with the media.
If you are truly unable to attend, the Foundation will arrange to present the Award to you at a private ceremony.
What if I have questions other than these to ask? Who should I contact?
You may call Kelly Whetter at 416-504-2849 or email her at [email protected]