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Giving back to pay it forward

September 7, 2012

Giving back to pay it forward
Carolina Torres: "I’m helping to make the Western Experience accessible to others."

One phone call gave Carolina Torres, BACS’05, the chance to pay it forward.

After graduating from Western in 2005, Carolina received a call from Western’s Annual Giving Call Centre. On the other end of the line was a student, who shared his story of why he was studying at Western—and asked Carolina to consider making a donation to The Western Fund.

As she listened to him, Carolina remembered a good friend of hers at Western, who had previously worked at the call centre. “She often talked about how challenging but rewarding it was to contact alumni to ask them to make a gift to the university,” says Carolina.

With that phone call, she agreed to give to The Western Fund every month—a commitment that continues seven years later and now totals more than $6,700.

Carolina knows the value and effect of this kind of giving. Her family moved to Canada from Colombia in 1991, settling in Whitby, Ont. She quickly learned English and made her mark in school.

“For my parents, education was hugely important to them, but because they had to restart their lives in Canada, sending my sister and me to university was a huge strain on them,” she says.

That’s why Carolina is grateful for the financial awards she received as a Western student. “Because of the generosity of donors, I received the assistance I needed to study at Western. I’m so honoured those donors made a difference in my life.

"Now I want to give back, so students without the financial means can have the same opportunity that I had," Carolina adds. "In some small way I’m helping to make the Western Experience accessible to others."

Today, Carolina works as Senior Credit Officer with RBC Capital Markets in downtown Toronto. "At Western, I gained the knowledge and strong work ethic to succeed in my profession - and the confidence to openly discuss ideas and recommend changes to my colleagues," she says.

While she works on Bay Street, her Western experience is not far from her mind. Each time a family member from Colombia comes for a visit, Carolina includes a tour of Western's campus. "I want to show them where I attended school, and it gives me the chance to reminisce about an experience that gave me so much."

This article appeared in the 2012 edition of Annual Impact
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