Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Community service pays big dividends

by Nancy Griesemer

Christopher Newport offers scholarships
for outstanding leaders
This is the last in the series of 3 articles on community service.
Although service to others should be its own reward, there’s no question that many colleges, organizations, foundations, and businesses are willing to acknowledge outstanding community service by awarding some very generous college scholarships. 
These scholarships are targeted to those who have a true passion for service. While many high schools and school districts require service as part of the regular curriculum, to qualify for a community service scholarship, you’ll need to go above and beyond basic hour requirements.
Scholarship committees will want to see proof of service, hear from references, and have an idea that you are committed to continuing service into the future. Typically winners of these awards began early in their high school careers and dedicate hours weekly throughout the year. We’re not talking about a one-time mission trip to the Caribbean. The kind of volunteerism that wins awards is sustained and heartfelt.
Here are some of the more notable national awards programs available to high school students who are deeply involved in community service:
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the largest US recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. Since 1955, more than 130,000 middle and high school students have been recognized for their volunteer work. In the US, each program year begins in September and online applications must be completed in early November. Note that programs are also conducted in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil.
Do Something Awards. has awarded $1.2 million in scholarships in the past 6 years to over 300 winners, who are selected by random drawing. Deadlines vary.
Barron Prize.  The Barron Prize honors outstanding young leaders who have “organized and led an extraordinary service activity which has clearly benefited other people or the planet we share.” Applicants must be between 8 and 18, to be eligible for a top prize of $10,000. Applications must be received by April 15. 
Coca-Cola Scholars Program.  The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating students who are recognized for the capacity to lead and serve as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. Each year, 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected to receive this $20,000 scholarship. Applications are typically accepted from August to October 31 of the senior year in high school.
AXA Achievement Scholarship This scholarship provides over $1.4 million to high school seniors residing in all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. Students have the opportunity to receive a $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000 scholarship by thoughtfully conveying how they identified and challenge and volunteered to strengthen their community through service.
Comcast Leaders and Achievers Program.  Comcast Leaders and Achievers are high school students who have been selected for their outstanding community service, academic performance and leadership skills. The award is a one-time, $2,500 scholarship to be used toward undergraduate education-related expenses.
Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship ProgramThis scholarship is designed to encourage youth volunteers to become active in service to veterans. Scholarships will be awarded in the amounts of $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000. The scholarship is open to volunteers age 21 or younger who have contributed a minimum of 100 credited hours. Applications will be accepted from May 1, 2019 through February 28, 2020. 
GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program. This program rewards college-bound student who demonstrate “exemplary leadership, drive, integrity and citizenship.” Numerous recipients receive a $10,000 scholarship renewable for up to an additional three years or $40,000 total per recipient.
President’s Volunteer Service AwardThe President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation recognizes significant contributions volunteers make nationwide. The award is offered at the bronze, silver and gold level depending on the number of hours of volunteer service completed.
Burger King Scholars Program. Under the “general track” program consideration will be given to each applicant’s academic record (50%) and participation in school and community activities (50%). Up to 3 scholarships of $50,000 will be granted to the most highly qualified students demonstrating leadership, substantial work experience and financial need.
Brower Youth Award.  These scholarships are awarded to “youth environmental change leaders” between the ages of 13 and 22. Each of 6 winners receives a $3,000 prize, along with a professionally-produced short film about their work.  The 2020 application cycle will open early next year with applications due in late spring.
Davis-Putter ScholarshipThese awards go to students who are actively working toward social justice. Winners are chosen for their social activism and demonstrated financial need. Scholarships vary in amount but the top award is $10,000. Applications must be submitted no later than April 1.
Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarships. Offered by the Sodexo Foundations to students between the ages of 5 and 25, these awards go to individuals who have demonstrated an on-going commitment to their community by performing unpaid volunteer work eliminating hunger. Recipients receive a $5000 scholarship for their education and a matching grant in their name for the hunger-related charity of their choosing.
Point Foundation Scholarships.  Applicants must have a proven record of leadership and community involvement, strong academic achievement and be working for the betterment of the LGBTQ community.  Applications are due by January 27, 2020.
National Honor Society Scholarship. Since 1946, more than $15 million has been awarded to outstanding NHS senior members. The pillars of the NHS—scholarship, service, leadership and character—are the selection criteria for reviewing applicants.  In 2019-20, 600 outstanding NHS high school seniors will be granted a total of $2 million.
National Caring Award. The Caring institute grants several National Caring Awards to individuals who are role models with extraordinary dedication to community service. To receive the $2,000, young adults must be nominated before graduation from high school or before their 18th birthday.

Finally, be sure to check the websites of specific colleges to which you are applying as many offer scholarships for community service, volunteerism or leadership. Also check to see if your college participates in the Bonner Scholars Program, which provides opportunities for students with financial need to participate in community service as work-study.