Henry Sexsmith received a $40

‘Little Brother’ earns full scholarship to university

Henry Sexsmith says he owes a lot to Victoria’s Big Brother organization

Henry Sexsmith was enjoying his last few minutes of morning sleep when his mother burst into his room.

The look of excitement on Stephanie Holmes’ face let him know he needed to take the call.

“The person on the other end of the line said, ‘We want to tell you you’ve been selected as a recipient for the 2014 CIBC Youthvision scholarship,’” says Sexsmith from his Victoria home. “I was like, ‘Oh no way!’ … There’s only 33 people in Canada who get the scholarship. I just felt so lucky.”

The roughly $40,000 scholarship is available to Grade 10 students who have been through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, a youth mentoring charity that helps kids in primarily single adult families.

Two other teens in Sooke and Sidney received the same scholarship, and Sexsmith also received one of only three scholarships for athletic achievement from CIBC Youthvision.

Rhonda Brown, executive director with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria, said the scholarship integrates financial support, an internship and a continued mentoring relationship that boosts the likelihood of success in university.

“It’s hope for these kids, and it’s just an incredible opportunity. It allows them to pursue a career where otherwise they may not have been able,” Brown said.

Mentors not only play a big role in the development of Little Brothers, but they’re also fundamental in kids being chosen for scholarships, she said.

“The mentor has to write about their experience with the child and why they think their Little Brother or Sister deserves to have this opportunity to reach their goals,” Brown said. “I can’t say enough about the strength of those relationships.”

Sexsmith’s Big Brother, Caleb, introduced the teen to life behind the scenes at the University of Victoria, where Caleb recently completed his PhD. They also spent countless hours playing sports, watching movies or heading downtown for a meal.

“We have a relationship based on kindness and humour,” Sexsmith said. “It was just amazing to have someone close to my age with lots of energy.”

To give back, Sexsmith is now a teen mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He’s also planning to study history or computer science at university in a few years.

“I guess I’m like every parent: I want my son to fulfill his dreams,” Holmes says. “I’m so happy and grateful that he’ll have the opportunities that the scholarship provides.”

Learn more at cibc.com/youthvision.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is a tough market, even for former homeowners

Seniors often squeezed out of the housing market due to limited income

Garry Oak Meadow Marathon underway at Cattle Point

Every Sunday in February and March Friends of Uplands Park is seeking volunteers

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Most Read