The Zach Sutherland & Kaya Firth Resiliency Scholarship is an education award of $2500 for post-secondary education pursued at the university, college or apprenticeship level. It is open to youth who have demonstrated resiliency despite facing grief from the loss of a loved one. We believe that young people who have found and cultivated their own resilience are ideally positioned to light the way for others by sharing their story.
Applications for 2020 Scholarships have now closed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines and provision of awards will require modifications. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.
To apply, please share your story of resilience with us and include your name, contact information (email address, mailing address and phone contact) as well as your plans for post-secondary education.
You can send your resiliency story and your contact information to us at the email address below:
Please know that your submission will be treated with strict confidence and will be only read by the Selection Committee.
How the Recipients are chosen
Recipients are chosen based on their ability to integrate their loss and adversity into their lives and choose to be resilient. We believe that from even the worst, most unacceptable circumstances, those who are able to eventually find and grow the seed of resilience within themselves have much to share from which many can benefit. We hope to provide a platform for these young people and intend to start by recognizing and rewarding their resilience.
Because this scholarship is currently funded by the generosity of our local communities some priority will be given to youth who reside in the Halton Hills, Terra Cotta and Caledon areas.
As our donor base expands so too will the geographical area and number of recipients each year.
Attention to the Inception of the Scholarship and Previous Recipients sections may help applicants prepare their submissions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I apply if…
I have experienced a lot of adversity in my life, however I have not lost anyone close to me.
We acknowledge that other forms of loss and adversity also require the cultivation of resilience, however these scholarships are specifically for young people experiencing grief related to the loss of a loved one.
I am not yet in my final year of high school.
Not yet, but please consider applying in your final year.
I have had a gap between high school and my postsecondary education.
Yes, definitely. Often a significant loss will interrupt plans and require that you take time to heal before resuming your educational path. We fully understand this and encourage you to apply.
I am partway through my university/college program (or have completed undergrad and am beginning graduate studies).
Yes, any year of postsecondary qualifies, including graduate level.
I applied previously and was not selected to receive a scholarship.
Yes, please feel free to reapply. The scholarship selection committee has the daunting task of reading and responding to many applications each year, so not being selected previously does not reflect on the degree or importance of your resilience.
The significant person I lost is not a relative or family member.
Absolutely, please apply. We understand that the bonds that connect people are not always defined by recognized labels and that close relationships are about the love shared between people.
I do not live in the Halton Hills/Terra Cotta/Caledon area.
We invite you to apply, however as our donor base is currently local to this geographical area, some preference will be given to local applicants.
I do not have any financial hardships.
Yes, please apply. Financial need is not a requirement for this scholarship. We believe that the recognition of your resilience and the sharing of your story is completely separate from your financial situation, which is not considered whatsoever in the selection process.
I know Kaya and/or Zach’s families.
Yes, please apply. Zach and Kaya have had a profound impact in the community during their lives and since their passing and the ripple effect of the message of resiliency is passed on through personal connections.
I am concerned about the confidentiality of my application and the information it contains.
If you are comfortable sharing with the Selection Committee, please apply. All application letters are kept in strict confidence within this four person committee, which is comprised of members of the Board of Directors for the Foundation. If you are selected as a potential recipient, you will be asked to share your story in enough detail to give context of the nature of your loss, however the focus is on your cultivation of resilience, never the details of the loss.
My postsecondary education plans are for training in a trade apprenticeship program.
Yes, please apply. All recognized postsecondary programs including trade apprenticeships, college and university level are eligible.