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By Diane Dance

Even though I have been retired from education for a few years, September always feels like the start of the new year with students returning to school. How could it not, with all the ads reminding parents to stock up on new clothes and school supplies?

Everywhere I turn there is another cue and in an instant more than four decades of memories come flooding back: nervous kids, on that first day of school, wearing new sweaters regardless of the temperature! Even without a classroom to go to, the sense of hope and possibility for a new academic year is in the air, everywhere.

Thankfully I have grandchildren and volunteer work to keep me on my toes. Nowadays, when I think about young people—and hope and possibility—I think about my work for the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC). In my role as the Diocese of Huron’s representative for AFC, and as a member of the Request for Proposals Committee for AFC’s Say Yes! to Kids campaign—where we are poised to invest more than $110,000 in youth-focused initiatives across the country—I have come to know the many sides of the Foundation’s story.

It is true that old churches in need of a roof or other repairs have a good friend in AFC, but so, too, do young people. From dynamic church-based programs supporting students at the elementary school level to bursary support for undergraduate, masters and doctoral studies, AFC is committed to young people.

In the Diocese of Huron alone, the past decade has seen AFC invest more than $115,000 in leadership and education. Through bursaries and grants to students at Huron University College, Martin Luther University College, and others, the Foundation is committed to alleviating financial burden, investing in excellence in preaching, worship, and pastoral care, supporting challenging and inspiring conferences and training events, and resourcing church leaders, lay and ordained, for 21st century mission and ministry.

In addition to exploring the lesser-known sides of the AFC story, my volunteer work has given me the opportunity to get to know the Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois, who will retire from her position as AFC’s Executive Director in a few weeks’ time. I have seen how her love and affection for young people has impacted the diversity of AFC’s grant program and strengthened the flow of resources to support children, youth, and young adults, as they build a better future for themselves and for all of us.

I want to thank Judy for her wonderful, caring leadership and her ability to surround herself with bright, creative, engaged Board Directors and volunteers, willing to share their time and talents. I am thankful, too, for what she has done to grow a strong and resilient Anglican Foundation that works with education partners across the country, to nurture the professional development and spiritual renewal of current and future leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Diane Dance is the AFC Huron representative.