The Wesley Dalmar and Wesley Marcus Wilson Scholarships are an educational initiative to provide ongoing financial support to young people transitioning from foster care to university or vocational training.
Education is a powerful tool; it can help children reach their potential, achieve their life goals and, importantly, break the cycle of disadvantage. Wesley Mission offer two annual scholarships.
Wesley Dalmar Scholarship
The Wesley Dalmar Scholarship supports a young person to obtain a university degree.
Wesley Marcus Wilson Scholarship
Named in memory of Marcus Wilson, a young man we had the privilege to care for at Wesley Dalmar for 10 years. At the age of 18, Marcus was pursuing further study and an apprenticeship when tragedy struck. After a day’s work installing insulation roofs in Western Sydney, he died as a result of heat exhaustion.
Honouring his desire to obtain his qualifications, this scholarship provides support to obtain a trade qualification.
It was only supposed to be a two-week stay. But it quickly turned into six months. Then it extended to two years. Before Eloise knew it, 15 years flew by, and she was celebrating her 18th birthday with her aunt and uncle.
Aunty Trish and Uncle Rob are Eloise and her two brothers’ kinship carers. When Eloise was just three years old, she and her brothers were removed from the care of their birth mother. Eloise says she feels thankful to have grown up in such a loving and supportive family.
“I’m the first person to say I haven’t had a bad childhood, thanks to my aunty and uncle,” Eloise says. “We never went without.”
Since primary school, Eloise has been supported by Wesley Dalmar, including Nerissa, Wesley Dalmar Caseworker, who has been a stable anchor for Eloise for the last 10 years. And their relationship grew even stronger when Eloise applied for the Wesley Dalmar Scholarship – which provides financial support for a young person to obtain a university degree.
While initially unsure about applying, after encouragement from Trish and support from Nerissa and the Wesley Dalmar team, Eloise changed her mind. And to Eloise’s surprise, she was successful!
“I was so happy. And it was a relief because I was looking at textbooks and I thought maybe the scholarship would come in handy because they’re so expensive,” says Eloise.
The scholarship meant Eloise could pay for those costly university textbooks and her uniform for clinical placements.
Passionate about helping people, Eloise was inspired to pursue a career in nursing after her own positive experiences with nurses, when diagnosed with diabetes at just was five years old.
“I remember going to hospital and all the nurses were making me feel so much better,” shares Eloise. “And I just thought, ‘I want to pass that on and help other people’.”
After three years at university, this 21-year-old has now graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing. And she’s already secured a job with Central Coast Local Health and will start her new career in February 2023.
Nerissa says it’s been a privilege watching Eloise grow. “It is huge to see how far she’s come.”
Ethan’s journey in foster care started when he was two. He feels lucky to have been raised by loving foster parents.
“For me, having foster parents is just [like] I’ve got my parents,” he says. “My carers were kind, loving, supportive. No matter what I tried to do, they’ve always been supporting me through and always just behind me.”
Now at university, Ethan also credits his Wesley Dalmar case worker for helping him achieve his goals.
“I had one case manager,” he says. “It was a great deal of consistency, knowing that I had just the one person I could talk to if I needed help.
“There’s also been the Wesley Dalmar Scholarship where they’ve been helping me pay for some university expenses and tuition fees. …every little bit of support really helps.”
Ethan is currently developing a workshop designed to help case managers better support foster children like himself.
*Name and image have been changed to protect privacy.
Applying for a scholarship
Both scholarships are awarded annually to a young person who has received foster care through Wesley Mission. The support will be financial, assisting with fees and other expenses, and will continue for the life of the initial qualification.