When Lyle Truden and Jeff Rios were preparing to celebrate their wedding in 2013, they knew they didn’t need a bread maker, blender, or more towels. Instead, they recognized they were faced with the chance to do some real good. And so it was, they created the Lucille Harkness Memorial Scholarship Fund, providing wedding guests with the opportunity to assist young adults who have helped, as they put it, “promote or create a positive environment in their community.” In particular, as outlined by the scholarship’s mandate, “The youth should have a strong understanding that all people are equal, and work to eliminate bullying and hate from their communities.”
One project that speaks heavily to us is creating more social housing for LGBTQ youth in Vancouver. Having volunteered at QMUNITY, you often see children that have been thrown out by parents who simply do not understand. We have learned that there is a greater chance for LGBTQ youth to become homeless, and, to that end, we will likely dedicate our next project to helping alleviate this problem. - Lyle Truden and Jeff Rios, Fund Creators
This important scholarship – and unforgettable wedding gift – was formed in Lyle’s Grandmother’s honour. Which, as far as Lyle was concerned, made perfect sense. After all, Lucille Harkness was consistently involved in helping her community and was instrumental in funding her grandchildren’s education. So it was fitting for them to create a lasting legacy in her memory.
Intent on giving back to the community by way of supporting equality for LGBTQ rights, Lyle puts it this way: “Generations of men and women fought for our right to get married, and although that fight in Canada is over, there is always work to be done promoting equality.”