BayCoast Bank establishes student scholarship at West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton

Scholarship to benefit local student enrolled in Educational Internship Program.


March 26, 2022

By Ryan Belmore

What's Up Newp


BayCoast Bank this week announced the establishment of the BayCoast Bank Scholarship at West Place Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit organization located in Tiverton.


The scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled in West Place’s Educational Internship Program, which provides local high school and college students with an immersive, hands-on experience working with rescued farm animals and injured or orphaned wildlife.


West Place Animal Sanctuary is the only organization of its kind in the region. For 15 years, West Place has served Rhode Island and southern New England by providing a permanent home and lifelong care to farm animals rescued from abuse, neglect, and cruelty cases.


Additionally, the eight-acre farm is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center and serves as the lost dog shelter for the towns of Tiverton and Little Compton. West Place relies on volunteers and student interns to provide daily animal care 365 days per year.


“We are elated to welcome BayCoast Bank as our first corporate funder of a student scholarship,” notes Wendy Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of West Place Animal Sanctuary in a statement. Previous scholarships have been funded by individuals and families.


“Our Educational Internship Program is the cornerstone of our humane education efforts,” says Taylor. “Both our Summer Program and School-Year Program provide unique experiential learning opportunities for local students. Interns assist in all facets of our non-profit organization including animal care, wildlife rehabilitation, food cultivation, veterinary care, farm maintenance, and much more.”


The Educational Internship Program is currently free to all students who apply and demonstrate a basic ability to safely participate in farm activities, but as Taylor notes, it is only through the generosity of donors that the program can remain this way.


“We established the Bobbert Memorial Scholarship Fund last year in memory of our beloved alpaca, Bobbert. Our goal is to honor Bobbert’s unique soul and continue his legacy by providing humane education programs for the next generation of animal welfare advocates. BayCoast Bank’s commitment to education in the communities they serve make them the perfect flagship business partner to help us cultivate a more compassionate community.”


BayCoast Bank has long been one of the region’s strongest supporters of education initiatives. “We invest a great deal in education because we know that it can transform lives. We strive to support organizations throughout our branch network, and we were excited to learn about West Place Animal Sanctuary and its mission,” explained Julie Ramos Gagliardi, First Vice President of Corporate Giving and Community Relations at BayCoast Bank in a statement. “The grant to support the Bobbert Memorial Scholarship Fund provided us with an opportunity to fund a unique educational program that not only transforms the lives of the student interns who are invited to participate in this hands-on experience to learn about animal care, the environment, and sustainability, this grant also serves to transform the lives of the many animals that the Sanctuary cares for on a regular basis.”


In the summer of 2021, West Place awarded the first scholarship to student intern, Lillian Hanson, an undergraduate at Tufts University who is studying to become a veterinarian. Reflecting on her experience, Hanson says, “West Place Animal Sanctuary’s internship program introduced me to parts of the animal rescue and rehabilitation world that I had never dreamed of experiencing firsthand. Plus, I was able to have conversations with various farm animal veterinarians and I formed connections with wildlife rehabilitators and animal rescue organizations.” Hanson adds, “West Place will always be like a second family to me. This sanctuary—its animals, its volunteers, and the countless stories and lessons I learned—will always have a special place in my heart because of how much I loved my summer internship experience.”


The growing interest in West Place’s Educational Internship Program requires more time, resources, and planning each and every year to provide experiential learning opportunities that have a lifelong impact. The BayCoast Bank Scholarship offsets West Place’s program expenses related to recruitment, candidate screening, and interviews, scheduling, onboarding, accelerated training, and continual education.


The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving student intern in the School-Year Program this spring. Students interested in participating in West Place’s Educational Internship Program can visit westplace.org/internships for more information and an application.


Businesses or individuals wishing to establish a student scholarship through the Bobbert Memorial Scholarship Fund can learn more at westplace.org/bobbert-memorial or by contacting West Place Animal Sanctuary directly.