For the past five years, I’ve been part of a local scholarship committee. We interview and select a few exceptional young women for college scholarships from three local high schools.
Our criteria includes a proven track record of success for college with a high GPA, leadership skills, but most importantly, a dedication of giving back to our community through volunteering.
Each year, I get blown away by young women who are self-motivated, hard working, and find time to develop unique ways to give back. Sometimes a student tells us that it’s because of a parent that she learned to give back. One girl said when she has dinner with her dad at Denny’s, there’s a veteran paying his bill, and her dad steps up and says, “This one is on me.” Some girls see how hard their parents work at hard labor jobs. Their parents didn’t graduate high school and the girls see higher education as a road to a better life. Or, they may have a destructive sibling or relative that has influenced them of how not to live their lives.
I’m so impressed with the poise, the hard work, and commitment these young ladies show us. They don’t have hovering, guiding parents like our own kids have. They navigated through high school and applied for colleges—without any parental involvement. Plus, they managed to find time to volunteer—whether giving blankets to homeless, working at a food bank, or starting a website to connect teens to volunteer opportunities.
On another note, I have to thank my fellow committee members. They’ve supported the scholarship committee with little visibility or support from our own organization and community. It’s one of those things that you have to be a part of, to understand what an impact we have on a few young women’s lives—and in return—receive inspiration from them.
This year, we were surprised to find out that we had NO money for scholarships. The chairperson, a working, dance, swim and polo mom of two, immediately organized and rallied women to help. She came up with unique and viable ideas to raise the cash–including an outdoor dinner and “Thelma and Louise” movie night, plus a Spring Cleaning, where GoodWill gave us cash for our bins of used stuff.
It’s amazing what we can do when we work together. Together, we can do it! Thanks for letting me a part of this experience for another year.