OARA creates community through scholarship program

Rob Heslop from Andy’s Auto Wreckers with his daughter Lindsay, receiving her OARA scholarship cheque from Steve Fletcher of OARA. Heslop’s daughter Lauren received an OARA Scholarship this year, being the fourth of his children to do so.

By Josh White

London, Ontario — June 22, 2017 — The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) has chosen 23 recipients for its annual scholarship program. Since 2010, OARA has provided scholarships for individuals planning on pursuing a full-time post-secondary education program. The program has offered financial aid for hundreds of students over its eight years, with a total of $235,000 donated.

To qualify for these scholarships, the applicants must have a parent or guardian as a current employee of a Direct Member of OARA. It is not required that the applicant be entering the automotive industry, as long as the applicant has plans for post-secondary education. 

In 2010, after generating a considerable charitable fund through its vehicle retirement programs, OARA was looking at ways to give back. The most important aspect was to use the money in a way that would help to establish community. That is when the scholarship program took form.

Instead of shipping the scholarship cheques directly to the recipient, OARA sends them to the yard’s owner. “We’re looking to bind our members together. We tell [the owner] to make it a big deal,” said Executive Director Steve Fletcher. Having the owner make a presentation of the scholarship accomplishment creates create a sense of community within the business.

The funding for the scholarships comes from fundraising at their annual conferences. Since the positive reception of the program, OARA has devised different ways to bring in money including silent auctions, charity casinos, raffles and 50-50 draws.

For more information on OARA and the scholarship program, please visit oara.com.


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