JANINE and Tim Owen first met studying business degrees at the then University of Ballarat.
So it was very fitting that Mr Owen set up a scholarship for commerce and accounting students in his wife’s name after she died in 2012.
“It’s not every day you can create something good out of something bad,” Mr Owen said.
“I’m really proud of it and it’s something our two families are really proud of.”
Mr Owen is also very proud of the perpetual scholarship’s first recipient, former Ballarat Secondary College student Jasmine Bishop.
“Jasmine’s an awesome kid. My family and friends got the opportunity to meet her too and she’s very mature for an 18-year-old.
“This will make a massive difference to her.
“She’s the exact reason I set it up and the end result was perfect.”
The scholarship will help Jasmine complete her Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at Federation University.
“During our conversation, Jasmine inspired me with her strength, maturity and resilience, as well as her determination to become an accountant regardless of personal circumstances.
“I know that Jasmine will do very well with her future studies.”
The Janine Owen Fund also provides financial assistance to agencies helping disadvantaged families, children and youth in the Ballarat area, including United Way and the Ballarat Foundation.
Mr Owen said so far the fund had helped youth mentoring program Big Brother/Big Sister, the Centre Against
Sexual Assault and UnitingCare, including a young mother who had got her life back on track after having her children removed from her care.
It has also provided $10,000 to the Lighthouse Foundation in Ballarat.
On a personal level, Mr Owen has donated to the Child and Family Services’ Christmas Wishes program for the last two years by buying bikes to be distributed to the needy.
“I’ll never meet the people but I know it’s going to be a person who has a genuine need.”
Mr Owen said he has received an invitation to visit the Lighthouse Foundation, which he planned to take up on a visit to Ballarat after moving to Melbourne for work.
“United Way and the Ballarat Foundation get a lot of requests and it’s meant a lot to me to be able to help.
“I’m obviously very proud of it and I know Janine would be too.”