A Kelowna author is raising money to help send students to higher education.
Roxi Harms is using the proceeds from her book ‘The Upside of Hunger’ to raise funds for a scholarship for Okanagan students pursuing trades studies.
Harms said it all started when she met Penticton resident Adam Baumann years ago, who shared his story of being recruited into the Hungarian army at 15 during the Second World War and his life after.
It didn’t occur to her that the novel could generate profits, she said.
“I just wanted to capture his story and for people to enjoy it and draw inspiration from it like I did. Adam and I talked it through and we came up with the idea to create a fund that would be dispersed in scholarships to high school students who want to pursue higher education, but who may not have the funds to do it,” Harms said.
She added that sometimes students who don’t have the ability to pay for their studies don’t have the confidence to even try, which was why the pair wanted to create the fund: to give students the ability and the confidence to pursue their studies.
She said they’ve raised $2,000 already, which they want to give to two graduating students from this school year.
“With this pandemic, I’m really hoping that grad ceremonies actually can take place because I have the dream of seeing Adam present the scholarship to the recipients – that would just be wonderful.”
She said they want to award students who are working to overcome challenges in their lives, much as Baumann did.
After the war, Baumann and his family were deported to Germany, where he trained as a bricklayer, emigrating to Canada in 1951. He worked different jobs throughout Quebec and B.C., finally settling in Penticton, where he started a brick plant and became a developer. He built commercial and apartment buildings as well as the first storage building outside of the Lower Mainland, according to Harms.
“He continues to be active in the community at 91. Right now, he’s staying home and staying safe.”
Harms said the more people buy the book, the more students can benefit from the scholarship fund next year.
The book is available to order from bookstores online, and can also be found in e-book form. For more information, you can visit Harms’ website.