The RESP: A Ripple Effect That Changes Lives
July 20, 2015
It’s September 2014; a young woman makes her way on stage to receive a much-deserved award. In the clear voice of her some twenty years, she speaks words of thanks unlike any I’ve heard since the beginning of the evening. Tonight, Léa Brière-Godbout is being recognized for her outstanding social involvement which earned her the Avenir Personnalité award (undergraduate category) of the Forces Avenir Gala. When expressing her appreciation, she has the courage to emphasize that if her parents not paid for her education, she would not have had the privilege to be socially involved.
Money and the advantages it can bring is a subject often seen as politically incorrect. We rarely give merit to those who use money as a means to an end. We are all familiar with the saying, “time is money,” yet we fail to admit that money is also time. But in the end, it’s how this time is used that truly matters and defines a person.
And so, when parents set up an RESP for their children and save for years, they are doing more than reducing their children’s future school debt; they are offering their children an opportunity that can go a long way... a very long way. After all, the years spent to complete a post-secondary education are pivotal in a lifetime. During this period, a series of events and conditions come together to help young people choose their path in life, and embark on this adventure.
Forces Avenir grasps the importance of this milestone, when young people are at a crossroad. The organization encourages students to launch their own projects while pursuing their studies with fervour. The most promising projects are recognized and praised, giving deserving students the attention and time in the spotlight needed to jumpstart their career or project, and to provide opportunity. This was the situation for three students who developed an interactive web platform allowing children with cystic fibrosis to improve the efficiency of their treatment, thus improving their quality of life.
A young woman was recognized for her work editing books intended to keep the Tibetan language alive, while two other students developed a new type of electric battery, an advancement that undoubtedly holds great economic potential. These are only a few of the gifted students who attended the event; the list of visionary projects goes on and on.
Finally, I would like to mention the case of François Grégoire, who went on a humanitarian trip as a student years ago, and whose vision of life was forever changed when he came home. “Social involvement is the force that drives societal development,” says Grégoire, now CEO of Forces Avenir, the very organization that is now rewarding Léa Brière-Godbout. “But to benefit from this commitment as a society, we have to give ourselves the means to develop this potential,” concludes Grégoire.
Social involvement is a notion that best defines one of the societal benefits provided by education savings. In the long run, an RESP creates ripples that go far beyond our initial perception.