Janes working to help her kids

The University of Lethbridge campus is filled with faculty and staff who go above and beyond the call of duty every day. Charlene Janes is one of those people.
In her role as international liaison officer, she supports more than 550 international students a year. The students she works with come from around the world and know Janes as someone they can turn to, as a mom away from home.
"In a lot of ways I do feel like they're my kids," Janes says with a smile. "Sometimes they just need someone to be there for them, to encourage them, to lend a shoulder to cry on."
Janes' work revolves around finding solutions for the unique challenges these students encounter. She is presented with almost every problem imaginable, one of which is the issue of finances.
"There's a misconception out there that international students have a lot of money. While some of them come from affluence, a lot of them do not. In many cases, an extended family has pooled their money to give one individual an opportunity to go to university," Janes says.
She explains there are times when the necessary financial support for these students becomes unavailable. In such situations, Janes has advised those with high grades to apply for scholarships, but she was frustrated by the lack of funding for students who were not necessarily at the top of the academic ladder.
"What I saw was that these students ended up working a lot of hours to make ends meet, and while they were getting by, they were not really thriving."
At the spring launch of Supporting Our Students 2008, campaign co-chair Randy Joseph spoke about the need for increased bursaries — it was an appeal that hit home for Janes.
"I had seen a need for financial support for international students for a long time. Establishing a bursary turned out to be such an easy thing to do. I contacted the Advancement office, explained what I wanted to do, and they helped me make it happen."
As it turns out, she wasn't the only one who recognized the need — already three other individuals from her department have made contributions to the award.
"Supporting this award has been such a rewarding experience.
These students come here because of the opportunities they believe an education will provide. It feels good to help them get one step closer to reaching their potential."
Supporting Our Students is an annual internal campaign to raise money for U of L student awards. For more information about how you can contribute, visit: