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Courage To Grow Scholarship

You must be a junior or senior in high school or college student with a minimum GPA of 2.5 or better. U.S. citizens only please.


Deadline date:March 31, 2015

Awards per month:
Award amount: $500.00

First name:  
Last name:  
Contact phone number:  
Email address:  


Please explain in 250 words or less why you believe that you should be awarded this scholarship:

(Note: Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are important.)

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Scholarship Award Process:

1) Final candidates will be selected 1 week after the application deadline.

2) All scholarship recipients will be honored by receiving a certificate of award.

3) Scholarship monies will be distributed to the student's college/university account pending the following:

A) Proof of enrollment in college via the college administration department.

B) Proof of grade point average of 2.5 or better was obtained.

4) Scholarships awards are for a maximum of $500.00 USD.





















The "Courage to Grow Scholarship" was created to help students realize their college dreams.

We don't want the college dreams and plans of so many young men and women to get lost in the financial shuffle. It takes a lot of determination and courage to forge ahead when sometimes it would be easier to give up.

With the "Courage to Grow Scholarship" we strive to help students achieve their higher education goals. By taking away some of the concerns such as "how will I pay for college", students can concentrate on their education and focus on the task at hand.

Today's economy is hard enough on a family, it is our desire to ease some of the financial burden that a college education can put on individuals and their families.

Courage to Grow Scholarship
Growing Success through Courage and Education

Feb 2015 Award Winner

Margot Myers
February 2015

I was born and raised in a small Montana town. As a kid, entertainment, education and social options seemed limited. We didn't have the luxury of high tech and cultural amusements or educational opportunities. We were guaranteed to see the same faces at school, businesses and social events. Due to this we would treat each other with courtesy. Knowing we would see each other tomorrow put us in the position of being dealt instant feedback if our actions were less than respectable. We now know how to be hospitable and join hands with our community members. My friends and I laughed until it was painful after being dumped off a tractor into a manure pile, and slept in the fields under Montana's big skies. I've been given a solid, one-sided foundation that taught me the importance of respect, courtesy and gratitude. Now I need to experience the other.

My goal is to attend college out of state to expand my horizons, an overused cliché, but it rings true. If I am awarded money for my education I will be able to fulfill my dream. My inner values of continuously giving back to my community and serving others will follow me as I embark onto the next chapter of my life. I will not waste the opportunities given to me and while doing so I will incorporate my philanthropic beliefs. If helped in my pursuit of expanding my mind, I will use my education to enrich both myself and my community.

Margot Myers

Jan 2015 Award Winner

Daniel Chavez
January 2015

Because my parents were not able to obtain an education, I have worked to achieve academic success. Moreover, I have worked to become a better person by being more open-minded and offering my volunteer service to others.

I have worked each day not for the results of the present, but for a better tomorrow. Believing that education is what will carry me to a better future; I value its importance and work towards achieving success.

I have helped many people in ways such as volunteering at the food bank, buying clothes for the unfortunate, and helping students learn. However, I aim to continue to exercise my service, but on a larger scale. I aspire to be a person who opens the doors to those who are less fortunate and have never had the opportunities I have been blessed to have received.

I believe having an open mind is important. There is inhumanity in our society. Much of this is the result of the cruel judgments made. Many individuals hold a staunchly conservative view of our society. I am a person who tries to understand people rather than speculate and judge them.

I value these beliefs because they are a part of me. They are what have helped me live a better life. I value their importance and find them to be concepts everyone should value and respect. I believe a person who values and integrates this philosophy such as I deserve to be considered for a Courage to Grow Scholarship.

Daniel Chavez

December 2014 Award Winner

Elizabeth Clark
December 2014

Music. It is a language spoken and understood by everyone, regardless of race, nationality, gender, or culture. It is a language I speak quite fluently. Like learning a language, playing music at first is very difficult and all the beginner is trying to do is get out a note or two, just as someone learning a new language is figuring out how to ask the basic question "how are you?" It is not until much later does the musician learn adjectives and adverbs, the ingredients that make language, as well as music, interesting and creative.

As a musician myself, I am finally beginning to learn how to color my music with bright vivid crayolas. It is at this point that my band mates and I are no longer playing just to play. We are now creating music to tell a story to the audience, to make them feel true emotions. These are the emotions can only be felt when the melody of a heart-breaking ballad swells over the audience, or the joy when a beautiful piece is finished and the audience is sent onto their feet clapping and crying.

It is through music that people can experience this form of humanity and feel something they may never have before. It is an incredible feeling as a musician to bring that kind of emotion into hundreds of people all at once. By earning this scholarship, I will be able to pursue my dreams to be a music educator.

Elizabeth Clark
November 2014 Award Winner

Chandreyee Johnson
November 2014

I staggered up the stairway of the adolescent residential home to check in with my co-worker and plead for a break. It had been an intense evening, filled with the heightened emotions of a house full of raging teenagers. A few hours had passed since the uproar of events, and the teens were now deep in slumber. As I approached the upstairs landing, I looked up to see my co-worker staring at his computer screen. His face, illuminated by the computer's glow, revealed a smile and chuckling; whatever he was watching, he was thoroughly enjoying. I caught his attention, and after a quick exchange of requests, he returned to his computer, his chuckles and smiling ensuing. I shook my head and walked toward the exit. Pressing against the door, I glanced back into the dimly lit room and felt a joyful smile sweep across my face. Suddenly, a flash of all the smiles I've seen in this facility flooded my mind; the teenagers, because of something I said; my co-workers reacting to my goofy moments; the joy I feel when these amazing young adults genuinely smile with me, knowing they're not alone. That's my purpose, I remembered; to make a difference.Pursuing my education allows me to continue making that difference in the lives of these youth. Receipt of this scholarship will enable me to advance toward my counseling degree, knowing that as my education and experience broaden, my impact will help give these teens their own courage to grow.

Chandreyee Johnson
University of Phoenix
October 2014 Award Winner

Tranard Harvin
October 2014

It is not always easy to overcome obstacles in life. Extenuating circumstances that we seem to have little to no control over can discourage us and, in most cases, turn out to be stepping stones that lead to our triumphant success. This is why I feel that persistence is one of the greatest qualities to possess. When I was 16 I started the Low Country Youth Enhancement Program, a youth-led, community out-reach program that seeks to enhance the natural abilities of children. This program develops a number of community projects that combat issues that my community faces such as hunger, homelessness, academic enrichment and a number of other issues. Psychology is a field that allows me to exude compassion for humanity; it is also the field that led me to change my interest in the rather pervasively renowned field of medicine. My sole interest is in the area of Child Psychology. According to renowned Harvard psychologist and author, Dr. Dan Kindlon, “Our children happiness as adults is largely dependent on the tools we give them to develop emotional maturity - to be honest with themselves, to be empathetic, to take initiative, to delay gratification, to learn from failure and move on and to accept when they've done something wrong”. Dr. Kindlon clearly explained, in better words than I could find, the reason why I desire to work with children. This scholarship will serve as a signal of support and motivation in my quest to becoming a successful Child Psychologist.

Tranard Harvin
Claflin University
September 2014 Award Winner

Andi Kabiri
September 2014

While some people may be familiar with the proverb "the shoemaker's children go barefoot," fewer know that "the caterer's children go hungry." My sister and I plan to write our memoir, "The Caterer's Daughters." Every night we fall asleep to the scent of baked goods, whether chocolate chip cookies, red velvet cupcakes, or mint chocolate truffles - only to wake up to the dreaded yellow Post-It note: "DO NOT EAT!"

When my parents divorced, my mom brainstormed ways to bring in additional income. She started with what she loved - to cook. Working at my mom's side, I've learned a lot about catering and more than expected about human relationships and the American class system. As I serve guests in the buffet line, I can hear my mother's generous laughter. For me, it's a symbol of hope from the "wrong" side of the buffet table. My mother is always friendly and humble. She is also uncompromisingly resourceful. She keeps late hours, so we want for nothing. She rarely looks back, so we can move forward. And here I stand, beneficiary of it all. I want to follow in her proverbial footsteps.

I want to be resourceful, determined and gracious, so that I can take care of myself and patiently pursue my aspirations. This scholarship will help me pursue those aspirations. Then one day, when I sit down to write that book, I hope that all those sweet aromas will again fill my soul and make their way to the page.

Andi Kabiri
August 2014 Award Winner

Lauren Phillips
August 2014

Every choice we make has a consequence, but it’s up to us to choose how the outcome will play out. After high school, I chose to attend a 4-year university, but my choices along the way ultimately led me to a pit. Fear crippled me and determined my next steps in life. Every so often a “second chance” would come along, but my un-faced consequences would catch up and drag me further into my hole of failure. Years later, a passerby threw me a rope to climb out and I approached a fork in my path. To the left was a familiar trail with shadows, quickly leading to complete darkness; to the right was a narrow yet warm path with a minuscule glimpse of hope for the future. When we reach those forks on this journey called life, we must find the courage within us to choose the narrow path illuminating hope, regardless the familiarity or comfort of the other, and keep trekking forward. When we encounter that next consequence, because we will, then we can tap into our grit and choose courage once again. Today, at the age of 25, I am living my latest second chance and returned to school to complete my degree in Psychology. My dream is to be a vessel of hope in the field of women’s counseling, but I cannot do it alone. With this scholarship, I will be one step closer to my goal to empower other women with a knowledge of choice.

Lauren Phillips
July 2014 Award Winner

Isaac Treves
July 2014

Finding a purpose in life is an important part of growing up. Cancer struck my father, uncle and grandmother and took away my beloved dog. But it was not until I read S. Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies that I decided to join scientists at one of the final frontiers of science. Last summer I won a Science Research Internship competition and worked at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research in Dr. Beebe’s biomedical engineering lab. I spent 250 hours working with renal cell carcinoma, submitting circulating tumor cells to low-oxygen conditions to improve cancer diagnosis. In this I achieved some success and gained insights into my future as a scientist. I discovered the importance of diligent, meticulous lab work and creative research design. I gained confidence, and the courage to grow into my role as a scientist.

I want to untangle the mysteries of how cancer cells take on a life of their own. To this end I applied to several top-tier schools, and was accepted by Princeton University. I’m thrilled to have the chance to learn cell biology from the very best, but attending will be a large financial burden on my family. I may have to work long hours to pay off the debt. Support from the Courage to Grow program would help me to devote more time to my cancer research. Thank you for considering my application.

Isaac Treves
June 2014 Award Winner

Dixie Ortiz
June 2014

Everything was silent and still when walking down Ariana Road- the road was literally a dead end. Yet, it was constantly on the brink of rippled interruption from the constant flow of residents immigrating and emigrating, with few lamentations upon leaving. This was a place to deal with the lemons life had given, and aspire to escape with lemonade within moments of a presented opportunity. The neighborhood was chock full of outdated mobile homes covered in rust, fading colors and roof sealant products. My own home was small and featured broken windows held together with duct tape. Hurricanes jarred these fragile homes, shoved water through the windows and chunks of pine tree branches barely missing the roof. Our neighborhood’s isolation and low socioeconomic state did not attract honorable neighbors; with shady characters lurking on the roads, leering at us and the little we possessed. One day, my parents made lemonade. We gathered sufficient funds to leave for a sunnier street, a concrete house complete with air conditioning, stable floors, and three bedrooms, each with solid windows! Now, I’m sipping lemonade and tasting a sample of what life with a stable, steady income could be like. It’s even sweeter after years of tangy lemons. Today, I carry on the transition upwards, past poverty and hopefully armed with the Courage to Grow scholarship to ease the costs of college. This scholarship will add to the assurance that I'll never need to return to a battered home within a stagnant neighborhood.

Dixie Ortiz
May 2014 Award Winner

Jessica Wollum
May 2014

The students giggle and throw spitballs at each other, ignoring the knowledge the teacher attempts to impart. Except for a little girl with new, purple glasses perched on her nose. She stares at the teacher, forehead scrunched as she tries to devour and digest each word he says. This little girl is full of questions, analyzing and searching until she finds the right answers. How in the world does one find X? The little girl wonders. What will these characters do next and why did the author write it that way? She considers as she reads.

She thirsts for knowledge, never feeling quenched, so she searches for more and more. Trying to unlock the secrets within, she spends her days staring at books. She listens to her teacher, aware of his ability to answer her never ending questions. She masters each task placed before her with deep consideration, but she longs for more. A desperate desire to be challenged and to meet her match, to not understand what is laid before her.

I am that little girl; older but similar. I still yearn for knowledge like a river yearns to find a resting place. Persistence still exists in the very core of me and I use it when challenges appear in front of me. Respect for elders who know many things still allows me to understand what I do not know. I should receive this scholarship for my quest for knowledge, my perseverance, and my respect for those more wise.

Jessica Wollum
High School Student
April 2014 Award Winner

Justice Orieh
April 2014

The Courage to Grow foundation has truly blessed me! In my opinion, there should be no limits in life. I believe everyone is able to reach greatness and fulfill their full potential, no matter where they came from As human beings, we are all created equal, and therefore should have the same opportunities to be successful. With this being said, I’m very thankful I was awarded this scholarship, because currently, the high price of tuition is the ONLY thing standing in my way to becoming a successful medical-professional. Since elementary, I have always maintained honor roll status, and been in the top 5 percentile of my class. This caused my mother to sew the desire of wanting to be a doctor into my dreams. I am on the road to medical school to both help people live long and healthy lives, and make my mother the proudest one on Earth. However, my parents, who have worked so hard to be financially able to send me to college, appreciate any help they can get. I have completed two semesters of college, and I ended both semesters with my usual honor-roll status, since my current G.P.A. is a 3.57. I want to thank Courage to Grow for awarding me this scholarship because I WILL reach my dreams of becoming a medical doctor, and thanks to this scholarship, I am so much more likely to do it in a timely manner.

Justice Orieh
March 2014 Award Winner

Sophia Valdez
March 2014

My dream to live life contributing to others while combining adventure and medicine led to my decision to become a veterinarian. There is, however, the possibility that my decision was influenced by my five-year-old girl logic that being a vet could compensate for failed attempts at creating diving boards for the canal-dwelling toads behind my yard. Whatever the true inspiration, I know that the vision I have for my future veterinary practice compliment my personality. To become well rounded in life, I have made sure that aside from vigorous studying, I prepare for my veterinary career in the form of community service. With the prerequisite demands of veterinary schools, and the time spent gaining experience at the zoo and in clinics, it is difficult to find a balance between studying and raising enough finances to access education. The old rules that promise success to those who work hard and spend wisely are unfortunately no longer enough. Money and GPAs control my life with more power than they ever should by draining my single youthful chance to live as I dream. The average debt for veterinary students is about $200,000, excluding living expenses and undergraduate studies. This statistic aggressively dares me to turn away or fail. However, I have driven myself beyond the academic requirements of an aspiring veterinarian for so long because living for the lives of others is a worthy cause. Receiving your sponsorship will privilege me with education, and investment in the lives I will one day save.

Sophia Valdez
University of Arizona
Febuary 2014 Award Winner

Dane Burkholder
Febuary 2014

My whole life, I have taken responsibility for my own accomplishments and drive because I understand the significance of hard work. I realize that determination and motivation are the most important things in life, and this has allowed me to take advantage of a multitude of new experiences. Next year, I will be attending college to study chemical engineering, and the Courage to Grow Scholarship would enable me to embark on this new journey of my life with confidence and stability.I am naturally curious about how things work and relate to one another, and I have always appreciated a comprehensive education that develops the entire individual. I think being well rounded and interested in a variety of disciplines can allow oneself to think critically about solving problems, interact effectively with many different people, and ultimately lead to an interesting, satisfying life. An important element of my journey through life so far has been constant self-improvement. Whenever possible, I try to learn something new, get better at piano or tennis, become healthier, or simply think more positively. I always strive for the best and set extremely high standards for myself, and I know there is always something new I can improve upon. I believe I am a deserving candidate for this scholarship because I will use my education to benefit society instead of myself. I strongly believe that selflessness is the most meaningful form of growth in an individual, and I have shown this throughout my academic and extracurricular career.

Dane Burkholder
High School Student
January 2014 Award Winner

Lakin Orr
January 2014

Everyday millions of people are affected by one or more types of anxiety disorders. It is the most common form of mental illness found throughout the U.S and is commonly seen in the form of depression. About half of the people diagnosed with depression later receive treatment for a generalized anxiety disorder. Victims of this disorder experience little to no motivation or concentration, and may often feel no desire to communicate with others. I say all this to point out that statistics and symptoms do not make the person or determine their future. They do not determine MY future. Everyday I face depression and anxiety, but I do not let them control my life or how I live it. I will not be a victim. When I think about courage I think of one of my favorite quotes by Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries (book): "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." Sometimes, when I think about moving away from home and going to college I get scared. I think to myself what if this happens or what if that happens, but then I think to myself: going to college and fulfilling my dreams is more important than trying to avoid being out of my comfort zone for the rest of my life. Simply staying alive is not living. I want to LIVE.

Lakin Orr
December 2013 Award Winner

Linsey Sturgill
December 2013

Courage is something that everyone should have, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does. I believe that I do possess the quality of courage. Courage to be myself, courage to grow, and even the courage to learn. You may not be thinking that learning is a courageous act, but in this day and age, valuing your mind and striving to expand your knowledge is something that’s hard to find in teens. I’m not only going to college for my benefit, but for my family as well. As a first generation scholar, I’m striving to do something no one in my family has done before. I want to be something my parents can be proud of and an example to my younger siblings. To be the one that they’ve placed all of that courage is something I don’t take lightly. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I think I’m up to the task. I have the courage to start a new tradition for my family, to explore uncharted territory for us. In the present, I show this strength within my academics. When others are goofing around and not staying on task, I ignore them and do my work. When they tease me for being a goody good, I ignore them. To go against the flow of the “normal “ kids, is why I think I show courage. I have the courage to take my own path and do what’s best to make me successful.

Linsey Sturgill
High School Student
November 2013 Award Winner

Stacy SatterWhite
November 2013

I am a single mother of 4 beautiful children. I am in pursuit of my Master's degree, but in need of financial assistance in order to complete the program. I grew up in a foster home , so unfortunately I do not have loving and supportive parents who can help me with my babies; nor do I have grandparents who secretly tuck money in my pockets while giving me a kiss on the forehead. I did, however, learn to clip coupons and stretch meals. I am a full-time mom; a full-time employee; and a full-time student. I am trying to give my children a financially stable future - however, I am also trying to make ends meet. We live pay check-to-pay check - so there is hardly any money left to buy shoes for 8 ever-growing feet; put food on the table; and keep the lights on. My greatest need is a financial one. Receiving financial support will allow me not only to obtain my life-long goal of a master's degree, but it will also give me more time to spend with my babies who complain, "Mommy, you never read us a bed time story anymore." I believe that I should never stop learning and that education is a key principle foundation upon which to build a solid future. It is my endeavor to obtain a Master’s degree; set a good example for my children; and give back to my community. For your time and consideration, I am greatly appreciative.

Stacy Satterwhite
Walden University
October 2013 Award Winner

Raymond La
October 2013

Aspire to inspire. This is a maxim that I reach for to define my college experience and personal goals in life. I was born and raised in a small, coastal town in Florida where the family and community milieu is strong. I never considered my family well off, as I grew up in a middle class household with parents who both immigrated to this nation with small finances and limited education. With an undying sense of idealism and courage, they labored through and persevered, which has allowed them to fulfill their American Dream. They embody in me their same sense of courage and altruism, which I still carry to this day. For this reason, I work as a student staff member at one of my college’s residential dormitories. This is a challenging position in which I reside in the freshman dormitories and serve as part of a support system for the new college students. Whether it is introducing them to extracurricular activities or mentoring them through academic challenges they face in the classroom, I am blessed to be able to provide a helping hand. I took on this position with courage because I knew that it was something I stood for. Although there are times when this job presents many challenges to me, I consider it an opportunity to be able to experience them and learn to overcome these trials. This courage to take on challenges defines my college experience and is something too that has allowed myself to grow.

Raymond La
University of Miami
September 2013 Award Winner

Leticia Rosario
September 2013

Sadly, I didn't win the genetic lottery, I've always been a small fish swimming among sharks in a vast ocean. I've always announced I'd like to study psychology and philosophy in Yale, one can't even imagine how many laughs I've gotten. Society seems to find it impossible for a Hispanic female stemming from poor ghetto roots wanting to obtain higher education. Regardless of this fact, I've consistently shown tenacity, I'm student council president, a member of mock trials, the Humanitarian Club, AV Club, I'm part of the soccer team, tennis team, and track, every Saturday I attend a program called SEED at MIT. This past summer I was also in school at Phillips Academy Summer Session. Everything I do, every moment spent in school, or outside is a step towards my hopes of contributing to the creation of a better world. I grew up dirt poor in a ghetto neighborhood, living in fear of falling into malicious, sleazy ways. I've witnessed intelligent beings wither away, allowing stereotypes to consume them. My very own brother at only eighteen was locked away and declared a criminal. That is what motivates me to study psychology and philosophy, to find meaning and to assist others in doing so. I hope whoever is reading this essay does not judge me based on straight A's, judge me on the fact that I am not driven by money or eternal fame, I am driven by a genuine desire to save the lives of those abandoned and lost.

Leticia Rosario

August 2013 Award Winner

Darian Kanouff
August 2013

When I was thirteen, I made one of the most important decisions of my life. Ever since Kindergarten, I had gone to the same school. It was a very small school that did not provide a very good education, but it was where I had always been and it was comfortable to me. However, I knew that if I wanted to have my best shot of getting into the college of my dreams, I needed to go to a better school. I made the scary decision to move in with my dad in a different city. I left my friends and the only life I had ever known to try to improve my chances of building a good future for myself. The change was terrifying and I had a very difficult time adjusting, but I persevered. I know now that I will always find the courage to adapt and to grow when faced with a difficult situation. I have realized it is during these trying moments that I have discovered most about who I am and who I should strive to be. I didn't know when I decided to move it would be one of the most important decisions of my life, but I certainly do now. I have become courageous and confident and I have gained the skills I need to prosper and continue to grow in college. I know, however, that it will be expensive and I will continue to work hard to get myself there.

Darian Kanouff
High School Student

July 2013 Award Winner

Amanda Yamasaki
July 2013

Growing up, I have always enjoyed drawing and painting but in school I focused on academics. I thought art was supposed to be just a hobby. It wasn’t until I was a junior that I took art as an elective and realized how much passion I had for it. My English teacher saw that I was carrying my artwork everywhere and asked me to paint a mural for his classroom. I was apprehensive since I had no formal training it would have been a challenge. That summer, I worked over 300 hours on this mural. I was featured on the front cover of our local newspaper. It was at that point that I realized that this is something I want to do in my life and applied for art school even though I have heard that it wasn’t the “practical” thing to do. I was admitted to one of the prestigious art schools, the School of Art Institute of Chicago. The Courage to Grow scholarship reaffirms my thought that we should pursue our passion.

Amanda Yamasaki
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
June 2013 Award Winner

Danielle Francis
June 2013

It's crazy to think that I have made it to nineteen. I've always had doubts on ever progressing in my life, but here I am. When I fell into a state of depression, I didn't know what I was capable of doing to myself. Turns out, I was my own worst enemy. It was hard when my family started to notice a change. I did not want them to judge me and feared that they would not understand. I didn't have anytime to sulk though, because in less than a year, I was going to college. I remember leaving my town, family and friends, thinking that I would not survive in a school five hours away from home with little money. When I arrived, I had a huge culture shock and immediately wanted to go home, but I didn't. Somehow college has changed me for the better and I am more than happy that I chose to receive education at a higher level. I have excelled in my school work and made an amazing group of friends. Leaving home has also helped me accept and understand myself because for most of the time, I was on my own. It has also brought me closer to my family which is all I could ever ask for. I wish to return to school in the fall better prepared, and with Courage to Grow's help, I know I will be better off financially. It would mean the world to continue my journey.

Danielle Francis
Florida A&M University
May 2013 Award Winner

Rodney Hughley
May 2013

The greatest [life] lessons learned throughout my journey in higher education have afforded me the courage, determination, and persistence to maximize my potential. In like manner, I have acknowledged that it has been through my seemingly weakest and most challenging moments that I have unknowingly gained strength. A few years ago, I decided to return to college at an age when most of my peers were well established in their chosen careers. But, one evening I found myself encouraging my younger brother not to waiver on his decision to further his education, “Don’t waste time chasing your dreams rather, invest your time, energy, and resources in fulfilling them”, I stated. At that moment, my mother in turn responded to me, “As long as you have the breath of life flowing through you, it is never too late for you, either”. That moment changed the trajectory of my life. Arguably, life experiences may never supersede traditional higher education, however, in all likelihood they are undoubtedly influential augmentations. On a personal level, it is apparent that personal commitment coupled with empathy is essential as it pertains to my passion for child advocacy. Being raised in an abusive home as a child, I realize the preponderance of leading by example. My essential goal is to encourage and empower [children] in order to share with them that which I have come to know: The only necessity for an individual who desires to fulfill a dream are actions essential in achieving them.

Rodney Hughley
Rollins College
April 2013 Award Winner

L. Sage
April 2013

Benjamin Franklin once said “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out”. He obviously had never met me. As a perfectionist, I dread failures especially those that life inexplicably throws one’s way when he or she least expects it. However, as Franklin encouraged, we have to keep moving forward despite our shortcomings. Such a moment came for me during my senior year, after months of sending college applications and fearfully awaiting replies. I received four of my college’s decisions within a day of each other: three rejections and a somber wait list notification. Following my graduation ceremony, that opportunity wasted away to a dismal “no”. For a long time I was inconsolable, having spent my entire life being told I was “going to do great things one day” and was unsure how to overcome such drastic failure. Eventually, I decided the only way to achieve my goal of attending college was to start over and try again. I retook the ACT, wrote new application essays, and undertook a harsh self-examination. As it turns out, my tumultuous efforts were rewarded with an Early Decision acceptance to NYU and its large costs. The Courage to Grow Scholarship is all about moving past failure toward your dreams, even when it feels more frightening to do so. That is precisely what I have experienced here. Action speaks louder than words. In reality every failure is disguised opportunity. I turned my deepest failure into highest possibility.

L. Sage
March 2013 Award Winner

Anthony Ibrahim
March 2013

My mother was diagnosed with two types of cancer and my father also suffered from a chronic illness for the majority of my high school career. In a time where I needed my parents most, I learned how to be independent and take care of the family. Despite the rough times I have gone through, I am blessed for everything I have been given. I have taken it upon myself to do everything in my power to make a positive change in the world. The service activity I enjoy the most is running a genocide prevention club at my school. I educate my local community about genocides that have happened around the world and how they have the power to stop the next one. I am truly dedicated to giving back to my community and I know it has done so much for me. With my little sister in elementary school and my big sister in college, the “Courage to Grow” scholarship will reaffirm my beliefs that my education will guide me down a path of success and remind me to always be thankful for what I have and those who have lent a helping hand. Education truly is the most powerful weapon and I hope through this scholarship that I will be able to further educate those around me.

Anthony Ibrahim
High School Senior
Feb 2013 Award Winner

Jacob Bitney
Feb. 2013

My father's constant curiosity and thirst for knowledge transformed my distaste for school to a savory drive for individual progress. During my childhood, our family took frequent trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains where my father built a cabin on our land. It was there that my father taught us the necessities of life and how to find them. Aside from physical needs, such as food, shelter, and warmth, he also taught us the cycle of life: that everything is born from nature and everything thus returns. It is there that, at 13 years old, we scattered my father's ashes, among a stream that so often quenched our thirst, and there we will always be able to remember his wisdom. Nothing in my life could have opened my eyes more to the opportunities we have around us than my year abroad in Switzerland. During my junior year of high school, I had the privilege of being a foreign exchange student. I lived among different people, who were speaking different languages, in different cultures. I am now open to all opportunities that are presented to me, which is an essential aspect when striving to be a successful and productive scholar. I would like to go outside of our country again to study and to share my experiences with others. A scholarship like this one would help me to achieve my goals. Education is no longer a creeping stream of facts to me, but a roaring sea of life.

Jacob Bitney
High School Student
Jan 2013 Award Winner

Ashely Monti
Jan. 2013

My parents raised six children, having their first child right after high school. Raising this many children was difficult for my parents and did not allow them to save money for future expenses, like college or retirement for themselves. In 2008, my family experienced a whirlwind when my mother was diagnosed with emphysema, a year later she was diagnosed with cancer. Medical bills, which covered medications, treatment, and doctor visits, became unimaginable. It is hard to fathom the expenses that came with improving the health and survival of my mother. Unfortunately, in 2009 my mother passed away. My father was left with little to no money to afford a funeral or finish paying her medical bills. At this point I knew affording college was going to be impossible. I decided to work throughout high school, but could only raise enough money for one semester of college. I also thought that if I studied vigorously in high school I could receive grades that would enable me to achieve scholarships. Yet, I did not plan into that equation the amount of change that came with losing my mother. I am terrified that affording college may prevent me from achieving my dreams of going to law school. Help give me the courage to grow and take great consideration in my application.

Ashely Monti

University of Minnesota
December 2012 Award Winner

Deanna Hall
Dec. 2012

Life is not easy. My junior year of high school I was homeless. I had to face this with my mother, her abusive boyfriend, my two sisters, and my four-year-old brother. We lived in a car and prayed we could get enough money from other people at gas stations so we could afford a cheap hotel. My faith became weak as my mother became cold as if she was a walking dead person. There was no more life in her eyes because she was so disappointed she couldn't help her children. I was not going to let this run and ruin my life. I had to help turn our lives around. I helped my mother find a new job, and I tutored my sister in her freshmen year of high school. I also had to ask organizations at school to help my family with food. I can't say I did this on my own, because my faith grew stronger and things began to look up. I don't use my testimony for a pity party. I use it to show that everyone can do whatever their mind wants if only they just went for it and had faith and confidence in themselves. I deserve this reward because I am in debt and my family can't afford my college expenses. I am humble and I don't ask for help but I don't want to see my mom so sad that she can't help me. I will be forever grateful.

DeAnna Hall

California Baptist University
November 2012 Award Winner

Trevor Mckoy
Nov. 2012

No matter how challenging the obstacles may be that veer in my path, my determination and drive to excel in all endeavors is by far my strongest attribute. Being the first member in my family’s generation to attend a University is an honor nonetheless, but it comes with a great deal of financial sacrifice. As I charge into my junior year of college as a full time student studying biology with an emphasis in medicine, I am besieged with the reality of the massive amount of debt I am burying my parents in, through the constant borrowing of private loans. As my siblings get closer to graduating high school I am reminded of the importance to relieve some of the financial load. Although it is disheartening to witness the way tuition greatly increases every year, it is well out of my character to fathom the idea of letting financial burdens inhibit my dreams of reaching Medical School and obtaining a doctoral degree; not only for myself but for my younger brother who also aspires to acquire a college education. I understand it is now within my reach to change my current circumstances, and reach out to organizations and people who are willing to lend support. I believe I should be greatly considered for this scholarship not only because I’m in financial need, but rather for the great impact I know I can achieve in this world through the continuation of crafting my skill and courage to further grow.

Trevor Mckoy

University of Washington
October 2012 Award Winner

Allie Robinson
Oct. 2012

I am a college student in the northwest. I struggle to learn more about myself and my path daily. My struggle is not unique; many have been in my shoes and will be there again. Changing majors, making hard choices, and giving up what you thought you wanted are all part of life. However, people handle it differently. Through my hard times, this guidance helped me through: never give up, never get down for too long, and always strike out on a new path with a smile and a brave heart. Don’t beat yourself up for something you could not have known, don’t feel guilty over the things other people expected of you, and show them who you really are by what you do. There is always hope in life, even when everything seems to be spinning out of control. Perseverance and love always succeed, even if it’s in an unexpected way. All of these things are connected. I try to live them out in my everyday life and I am getting better at doing it all the time. That is why I apply to this scholarship over and over again, even though I have never been chosen. There is always hope, and perseverance wins. Thank you for your generosity.

Allie Robinson
Pierce College, WA
September 2012 Award Winner

Pallavi Chamarthy
Sept. 2012

The Courage to Grow Scholarship is an honor to receive, and I would first and foremost like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity! Throughout high school, I have faced many obstacles. At times, I would feel like I was losing focus. But I learned that I had to keep going, no matter what. Courage and self-motivation is what kept me moving forward, despite whatever problems I was facing. I soon realized that believing in myself was the key to achieving my goals. My education has always been a top priority. Over the years, my passion for learning has only grown stronger. After I graduate high school, I plan to take my education to the next level: college. I would like to have a career in the science and technology field, along with a minor in music. The Courage to Grow Scholarship will definitely help me pay for some portion of my college costs. I am excited to find out what my future holds. I know that I will have to continue to be strong and courageous. I will persevere, even through times of difficulty…because in the end, it’s worth it!

Pallavi Chamarthy
Plano Senior High School (Plano, TX)
August 2012 Award Winner

Brandon Sweeting
Aug 2012

Finding the courage to try has always been an issue of mine. Constant trepidation filled me whenever I considered acting on any opportunity, regardless of its benefit. This fear and indecisiveness had caused me to miss out on a lot in high school, and I thoroughly regret this. The reasons why I didn’t enroll in challenging classes, and when it came time for college applications, why I hadn’t applied for any scholarships, stemmed directly from my fear of not being able to succeed in whatever I may attempt. I developed a type of acceptance, like most individuals do, when they are complacent with their current circumstances. However, upon entering college, I began a miraculous transformation. I realized then, that I must break free from the shackles of acceptance and fear that had held me down for so long. I decided to take hold of the opportunities around me and accept the challenges that I had previously cowered from. This shift in mindset motivated me to pursue my dream major of Physics, something that I never would have considered while I was still in high school. I used my clean slate to write a perfect GPA and have started research with two physics professors at my University in hopes of someday changing the world with my own scientific discoveries. With the funds from the Courage to Grow Scholarship, I would further progress my scientific aspirations and use them to pay my undergraduate research expenses.

Brandon Sweeting
University of South Florida
July 2012 Award Winner

Cala Fils
July 2012

On January 12, 2010, I lost many of my peers in the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I survived. Although I feel blessed to be alive, I lost everything dear to me, including family, friends, and even pets. Throughout this horrific tragedy, pediatricians were most needed because of the large number of children who were hurt. Because of this tragedy, I was determined to become a pediatrician. As a Haitian-American, the word college is common in my household. My parents who never went to college always tell me that I will attend college. In this era where a college degree is becoming necessary, not going to college would be the worst mistake of my life. In order to become a pediatrician, I have to go to college. It is my only path. After the catastrophe, I avoided everyone. Depressed, angry and alone I was. I didn’t have enough strength to let go. However, I joined a program called JROTC that has taught me how to grow and move forward in life. I was once closed off. Now I mentor and groom cadets in the program. I spend my time helping others and giving back to my community in every way I can. I never pictured myself helping others especially with their tribulations. I can personally say, after the earthquake and it’s aftermath, I have grown incredibly mentally. Without question, this scholarship will make a tremendous difference in my life, my parent’s lives and the lives of those I will help.

Cala Fils
Montclair State University
June 2012 Award Winner

Julie Bash
June 2012

Walking through the doors of North Reading High School as a freshman, something deep in my nature prompted my desire to leave a strong impression and establish myself as a leader early on. After being elected to many leadership roles at my high school, these positions served to further fuel my interest in student government on both local and regional levels. Senior year I was elected President of the Northeast Region of Massachusetts Association of Student Councils, (NEMASC). I run leadership workshops at various high schools and colleges across the state of Massachusetts where I teach other students public speaking, team building and communication skills. I interact with my high school principal regularly planning events and community service. While teaching other students strategies about how to further their leadership, I realize that involvement in these activities not only educates my peers but fosters my growth as a leader as well. Being involved in student government has influenced my plans for the future. My ultimate goal is to become a lawyer based on my passion for justice and political science. Student government has taught me the importance of influence. As President of NEMASC, I am aware of the impact I have on others and the need to take advantage of the opportunity I was given in this role in order to leave a lasting impression. If I were awarded the Courage To Grow Scholarship, it would be significant in helping me grow as a future leader.

Julie Bash
Providence College
May 2012 Award Winner

Joshua McElrath
May 2012

Courage comes from within. I believe it takes courage to believe in something bigger than myself. It takes the ability to look at obstacles as opportunities and setbacks as stepping stones. It’s a chance to move forward in both difficult times and times of growth. Courage can manifest itself as painful or pleasant. Courage is an opportunity to develop the ability to look within and find ways to help others such as those you love and those who have lost loved ones. Courage teaches me to recognize that I am human and gives me the opportunity to grow as a person in my character, thoughts and actions. Courage ultimately stands for C-Compassion, the ability to show kindness to others. O-Overcoming, through stepping through not around difficult situations. U-Understanding that I can do all things with the right frame of mind. R-Reflecting on living in the moment and being mindful of those situations around me that help to me to grow. A -Achieving and seeking opportunities to develop inner character. G-Growth inboth character and attitude. Lastly, E- Endurance knowing that the end result of reaching for educational opportunities will bring about change that is lifelong and lasting.

Joshua McElrath
Central Washington University
Apr 2012 Award Winner

Cassie Sinclair
April 2012

I have been a single mom for nearly seventeen years and though sometimes it is a struggle, I wouldn't change a thing. Having been an active Realtor for the past twelve years I was feeling I wanted a change. I've wanted to go back to school for some time but waited until my daughter was older and had her driver’s license so she wouldn't be stranded. My daughter and I are now attending the same college. With both of us in school it can be very difficult to juggle the expenses. Proving to myself that I can do this is so important to me and I do not want to give up. I so much appreciate any and all help that I can get. This scholarship will be put to good use with books, supplies, and tuition. Thank you so much for your support.


Cassie Sinclair
Wenatchee Valley College
Mar 2012 Award Winner
Ashley Malmgren
March 2012
I am an anesthesiologist, a radiology technician, a maid, a surgery assistant, phlebotomist, critical care technician, a loving hand, a pharmacist, a teacher, a shoulder to cry on, friend to cry with, a sucker for a furry face, a face to lick, a midwife, a dental hygienist, a vet’s best friend, a pet’s best friend, a babysitter, a physical therapist, a mother, a playmate, a chew toy, a protector, and a cleaner. I can make the pain go away, save a life, see what’s wrong, clean anything, ease a mind, fill a drug order, show the right way, end suffering, give kisses, get kisses, clean teeth, and bring someone to do the right thing. I have a strong stomach, endured countless scars, scratches, and bites, cried with a stranger, cried into the fur of too many lifeless bodies, a big heart, a thoughtful mind, the strength to do the right thing even when it hurts, the ability to fall in love in five seconds, and the deepest love for all creatures. I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician who wishes to continue my education to benefit my patients. With this scholarship I would be able to continue to strive for the best care that my clients can pursue for their companion. This scholarship would help pay for books or even part of my tuition at St. Petersburg College to obtain my bachelor's in Veterinary Technology.


Ashley Malmgren
St. Petersburg College

Feb 2012 Award Winner

Samantha Williams
February 2012

It has been two years since I started down this path of worry. Looking back now, I see how much I have grown through all the struggles with my nemesis, money. These battles have left me with many bruises, worry, anxiety and stress, but I fight on. I am a soldier, fighting for my future despite every obstacle that tries to get in my way. I am tired of continuously being scared and shattered, forced to crawl at money’s whim. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I had a nervous breakdown. I was in desperate fear for my future; there was an unexpected balance of three thousand dollars that my financial aid did not cover. I saw my future crumbling before me in an instant, I was faced with losing my chance at education, a chance at escaping the poverty stricken nature of my family, their last hope. Through grace, not all hope was lost. God provided for me and I was able to take loans to pay the balance. That experience has increased my willingness to fight for my future; I am finished with money holding me back. I strive to be a true representative of poverty stricken youth determined to show the world and inspire others like me that despite my dire financial circumstances I will accomplish all my dreams. Learning to have hope, never give up, always looking for a brighter future. I am a soldier for the future to win the war for my life.


Samantha Williams
Bowie State University

December 2011 Award Winner

Joe Magana
January 2012

Seeing my mother come home exhausted every day from her job, she never once forgot to remind me that if I did not want to live a life like hers, then I needed to always persevere and go to school. My mother, only having a sixth grade education and living with her two young children in a gang infested community where violence prevailed, was able to take on both roles of father and mother and slowly make men out of her boys. Seeing her struggle as the years went by and situations worsening, with her getting injured at work and being laid off due to her pain, and my father suddenly stop giving child support, my mother never once let her kids see her cry and would once again never forget to mention in Spanish “Nunca paras de ir a la escuela” meaning never stop going to school. One might say that growing up this way might be too difficult and not adequate for children; however, I argue that this upbringing has only made me stronger as an individual and given me a different perspective on how to view the world around me. I have kept my mother’s words clear in my head this whole way and feel as though this scholarship could help with the huge burden of being able to help pay for school. I hope that with this money I can continue mine and my mother’s dream of continuing in my education.

Joe Magana
Los Angeles, CA

December 2011 Award Winner

Jeidy Navarro
December 2011

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous contribution towards my college fund. When I received that call to inform me that I was the December winner, I was beyond ecstatic. You have helped me build the foundation to my college future and for that I am grateful.

I come from a low income family of three: my father, my brother, and myself. Coming from such a difficult background, a divorce, a runaway mother, and living with a single parent, I've been driven to succeed at each and every single obstacle life throws my way. A major goal I've always had was to go to a great college and make for myself what my parents could not achieve. I've always wanted to study pre-med and biochemistry because I have ambitions of becoming a doctor someday. Thank you so much for helping me with these integral first steps towards reaching my goal!

Your contribution has been a great blessing not just to me, but for my family as well. It brings them joy to see that one of us can accomplish receiving a scholarship with hard work, not to mention prayer on the side. It also encourages me to keep applying for more scholarships without that haunting feeling of doubt in myself.

You've given me not only a kind donation to my college fund, but you've also given me the encouragement I needed to keep on working towards my goal.

Jeidy Navarro

November 2011 Award Recipient
Alexandria Carter
November 2011

I awaken abruptly in the middle of the night lying next to my brother and my mother in a bed made for one. As I lay there, sweat trickling down my forehead I angrily, bitterly try to think of a single thing in my young life that’s worth fighting for. Poverty, low self-esteem, confusion and public schools have always been a part of my life. I’ve always believed that if you’re not doing something good you can’t complain about something being wrong. Experiencing days with the lights turned off due to lack of payment, nights without food and weeks in confusion has strengthened my desire to go to college so that I will never have to feel like this again for as long as I live. I took a class called judicial systems, where I studied law and dealt with cases concerning domestic violence, robbery, theft and murder. As I watched the same court worthy cases happen on a daily basis in my own neighborhood, it hit me like the summer’s heat on the back of my neck, if I wanted to see change I would have to be it. I decided to become a police officer. My passion for justice and a successful life pushes me every day. My granddad always told me, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. There are moments in life when you know you have crossed a bridge and you know your old life is over. College is my bridge.

Alexandria Carter

High School Senior

Sept 2011 Award Recipient
Kelsey May
October 2011

Oppression is like a tree which has been spreading its influence throughout America. Its branches reach far and wide; its trunk becomes ever more invincible with each generation living under its shadow. My passion for serving people in urban settings was aroused during my second missions trip to Chicago. Through ministering to the homeless, working alongside prior inmates, and volunteering at a Hispanic Boy’s and Girl’s Club, I encountered firsthand the unjust, broken lives of countless individuals. The trip’s influence was deeply personal, and it drastically altered my future plans. It is now my priority in life to write about urban living and to positively reshape the prominent stereotypes regarding the urban setting. I aspire to pursue a college education in the field of writing. The discoveries I will make and the insight I will gain while attending a university will tremendously benefit my writing. My dream couples my love of the pen with my volunteer experiences in Chicago, Mexico, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. I feel passionate about setting things right in this world, one small act at a time, not for my own benefit, but for the welfare of others. The intricacy of the problems plaguing people in cities is astounding. My plans include living in a poverty-stricken community to root out injustice, such as alcoholism, abuse, and gang violence. It is my career goal to chop down the limbs of oppression’s tree by utilizing my writing talents to expose these urban issues to the public.

Kelsey May

High School Student

aug 2011 Award Recipient
Michael Gomez
September 2011 

     Over the past year, I have made a turnaround in my life.  Uncertainty concerning my future after college contributed to a steady academic decline freshman through sophomore years at UCLA.  But after a trip to Colombia to learn about my heritage and speak with relatives in medicine, it all turned around. It became clear to me that microbiology research was my calling.  Since then, I have maintained high scores and committed to a research lab.  I am set on majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and minoring in Spanish.  My career goal is to attain a Ph.D. in Microbiology or Virology.  A challenge to these goals is paying for education.  My parents and I have buried ourselves in bank and school loans that will keep us burdened well into the future.  The Courage to Grow Scholarship would relieve some of this weight.  I have committed to my community through several projects.  I was involved in the club Invisible Children, which sought to raise awareness and fundraise to provide schools for children in war-torn Northern Uganda.  I felt the need to give the children of Northern Uganda a stronger voice in America.  I left this project to focus on improving my grades during sophomore year.  Now that my life has stabilized, I will be joining a new project focused on tutoring children of inner Los Angeles schools.  I believe that I should be awarded due to my academic improvement, clarity in academic goals, and commitment to my community.


Michael Gomez


aug 2011 Award Recipient
Allison Borthwick
August 2011

I want college to shed a light of inspiration in the darkness of my uncertainty. The only long-term goal I have ever been certain of is to avoid waking up one day, in college or already graduated, to find that I dislike the life I am living. I want my education to provide the foundation that I need to live a convivial and propitious life that will give me pride and ultimately benefit others.

As a high school senior, I am looking at colleges that will ensure a successful future and am applying for scholarships that will decrease lofty tuition costs. I am a dedicated High-honor Roll student involved in National Junior Classical League, National Honor Society, PEERs, show choir, and am a club officer for Teens 4 ProLife. National Honor Society requires substantial academic merit and encourages me to help my community any way that I can. I have volunteered for a Rockin' For Riley [Children's Hospital] fundraiser, helped my choir director from middle school run choir performances, volunteered child care and yard services, hosted and volunteered at show choir competitions, sung in my church's youth choir, and much more. Also, as a member of PEERs I advocate abstinence from drugs, sex, and alcohol at local middle schools.

However, even with extracurricular activities and a part-time job, tuition costs are still intimidating. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and expensive medical bills have caused painful debt. Money is not everything, but education is. This scholarship would help immensely.

Allison Borthwick

July 2011 Award Recipient
Bailey Belanger
July 2011

The majority of my life I felt alone. My family was less than stable, and I rarely knew where I would wake up in the morning. I faced abuse and separation from my brother and sister. I bounced around different places and lived with different people, ending up in the foster care system with my little brother. Without much support, I decided that inner strength would be all I could rely on.

During high school I learned that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. I was constantly being told that my future was dim and my options were limited. I refused to believe that your past must dictate your future. I continued to persevere knowing that true determination is rewarded. This is not to say that life was not difficult at times. Living in a strange home with little resources for continuing my education could be discouraging, but I would not give up. With my inner strength as a constant source of courage, I held my head high.

Now, as I shape my own future I know that my desire is to help others that feel alone. I want to be a counselor or guardian ad litem for children who are in the similar situations that I faced. I know that hope can be found in the darkest places with people who believe in you, and belief in yourself. I feel I should be awarded this scholarship because sometimes courage and a little hope is all you have.

Bailey Belanger
Auburn University

June 2011 Award Recipient
Maria Grekowicz
June 2011

I want to be a teacher. That being said, I am going to one of the top (and most expensive) universities in the country to be a teacher. To be a GOOD teacher.

I've had a gift for teaching since I was a small child, when I often helped others to learn dance steps because I learned quickly, was patient, and had high hopes for people who did not have those hopes for themselves. I am an Irish dancer; I am a student; I am a teacher.

I do not dare to say that I deserve this scholarship more than anyone else, but I will admit that I desperately need it. My dream of becoming a great, inspiring, effective teacher may never come about without scholarships to help me pay for a good education. My father is unemployed, and has been for 7 months now. With my mother being our only source of income, feeding our family of 6 has become a daily struggle. Without scholarships, I may never inspire students.I may never change hundreds of young lives for the better.

My parents can only help me so much, and they have already sacrificed more than I could ever ask of anyone. I may not be the most deserving of this scholarship, but I need it. Thank you for holding this scholarship; even if I don't win, contests like these remain a source of hope for thousands of college students, including myself.

Maria Grekowicz
University of Michigan

Apr 2011 Award Recipient
Jodell Cox
May. 2011

The older I get, the smaller I become. What I mean by this is, as time passes by and I mature, I become further and further in awe at this enormity of this world. With the number of opportunities and possibilities there are out there, trying to pick out the best one would be like trying to find the best shell on a beach. Not only are there too many to count but there is also all of the shells that you cannot see, buried under the sand and scattered in the distance, waiting to be found. It's unfathomable. With this knowledge, it is easy to make the mistake of limiting your view to what's right in front of you and on the surface, but you risk missing out on something truly amazing.

My point is that we should not be close-minded and miss out on all of the things life has to offer. Now I may not know exactly what my path is in this jungle we call life, but my compass is open and I know the direction that I am heading down. It may not be the easiest or the safest path but I have the two tools that I would need to brave it: the will to continue even when I want to give up and the belief in myself that I can and will reach the end of this path and that I deserve what waits for me at the end of it.

Jodell Cox
University of Florida

Apr 2011 Award Recipient
David Finkel
Apr. 2011

Academic growth has never been a large obstacle. I was the valedictorian of my high school graduating class of about 400 students, have received the maximum score, on nine AP tests, and have maintained a 4.0 through my first semester at Washington State University toward a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Unfortunately, investing in education requires significant resources on top of time and dedication, resources that I am struggling to acquire. My sister, Rebecca, decided to attend graduate school at the same time as I started at WSU, my brother, Joshua, has autism and requires significant aid, and finally, my dad lost his job as a result of the recent economic downturn. These realities have forced a very difficult adjustment for my family over the last year. Even so, I have done my best to help my community rather than focus solely on money.

Over just the last school year I have coached a math team at one local middle school, tutored students at another middle school, helped high school students in danger of dropping out learn necessary math skills, and volunteered at an emergency crisis hot-line, all as part of an Americorps service contract. That is why scholarships such as this one are so vital in supporting me toward my simultaneous goal of receiving a great education and giving back to my community. I would greatly appreciate and honor the opportunity that this scholarship would give me continue aiding the community and myself. Thank you.

David Finkel
Washington State University

Mar 2011 Award Recipient
Rachel Duncan
Mar. 2011

I want to be a licensed art therapist because I see a great need for creative counseling services for people suffering from loss, grief, and depression. I believe art therapy can be particularly effective for young people who might not benefit from talking about their experiences, but might grow and heal through making art. Both my father and sister died of cancer when I was young. I was able to process these difficult experiences with a therapist, and I also came to deeply respect the mental health profession.

My dream came true when I was admitted to Antioch University's Art Therapy program. I have a solid educational background with a BA from the Colorado College that prepares me for the rigors of graduate work. I am currently taking prerequisite coursework at Shoreline Community College. I support myself without financial assistance from family, and need scholarship funds and student loans to cover living costs while in graduate school. I am passionate about volunteering in Seattle. I tutor homeless teens working on their GED once a week at the Orion Center. I also co-organize an art club at the Secondary Bilingual Education Center where we aim to create an inviting environment for recently immigrated children to explore art materials and express themselves visually.

I am a committed student and contribute my love of the arts and positive mental health to the community. I have the added benefit of diverse life and work experiences that will make me an effective art therapist.

Rachel Duncan
Antioch University

Feb 2011 Award Recipient
Kanoi McMillion
Feb. 2011
Continuing my education will help me obtain a career and provide for my family. In addition to a career, acquiring my educational goals will give me a vehicle to use my talents to contribute to my community and society. I will use my failures and successes to improve the lives of others; so they might benefit from the trials and tribulations I have endured. This would ensure that my experiences were not in vain. I believe I can be a role model for young women who have faced or will face similar circumstances. I returned to school to provide my children with an example of "œreal" success because showing them is more powerful than telling them. I have three sons and in the African American community, education isn't deemed a priority for young men. The media has convinced young men that money equals success and if they desire success; they should be rappers or athletes. Success isn't easy or quick; it's hard work and sometimes a person fails, but one shouldn't be afraid of failure. When people are afraid of failure, then they are afraid to try. This limits success because success is working through failure. In short, success takes courage. Mickey Rooney once said, "œYou always pass failure on the way to success." This is a lesson that I have learned from life and a lesson I want my children to learn. I ask the committee to consider my future aspirations and not my past hardships in their decision.

Kanoi McMillion
Heald College

Jan 2011 Award Recipient
Tyler Seawood
Jan. 2011
Growing up some of the common adjectives that would describe the men in my family would be alcoholics, drug abusers, mental illness, criminal backgrounds, and poverty. These words are normal in my eyes and are a way of life. The children in my family have had very few positive male role models to look up to. I have decided to break the trend of negative role models in my family because I know there is a better option for me. I understand that we live in a world of possibilities and those old familiar trends of negative role models in my family can and will be broken by me.

I plan to do something different and positive with my life and stop the mediocrity and start a new movement of excellence in the family. There is one man who I can say is a man of strength, who has a hard work ethic, lives with integrity, and took care of his family. This man is my grandfather and role model. He is the one who took care of us when our mother had to work and he is the one that taught us the value of a dollar. I believe one of the best decisions I can make is to attend college and get a good education so I can fulfill my role as the example of a positive black man not only for my family but for men who have been pre-determined to fail.

Tyler Seawood
High School Senior

dec 2010 Award Recipient
Donna Hall
Dec. 2010
Watching my daughter tie her shoestrings together in an attempt to lengthen them and my son putting cardboard between the sole of his shoe so his foot won't scrape against the asphalt, breaks my heart. I think of how selfish I am for wanting to finish my education and better myself so I can provide for my family. I think of how I should have done that when they were younger, or before I had them. I made a lot of thoughtless decisions in my life, though I do not regret them, I wish I would have listened to my parents. I struggle with my education, not because I am not intelligent enough to understand the curriculum but it is because of finances. My children need shoes, clothes, food, shelter and most of all me. I am always under-stress and focused on how I can clothe my babes or pay the car payment. One bill always suffers every month, they get paid but for once I would LOVE to have a month where I can give my all to my education and my children. I am a better student and mother when I do not have to worry about money. My face is clearer, I can breathe and I get a whole nights sleep. My education will be more enlightening than just papers to get in on time. I believe I should be awarded this scholarship because it will solidify my dedication to my degree. THANK-YOU for your consideration.

Donna Hall
Institute of American Indian Arts

Nov 2010 Award Recipient
Anthony Chao
Nov. 2010
After listening to my parents describe their escape from Communists in the 1960s and experiencing a life of poverty, I can admit life is certainly difficult. The title "Courage to Grow" speaks for itself. Coming from a poverty-stricken childhood, I believe I am a person that has the courage to grow towards my full potential in a way that could revolutionize my family's life for generations to come.

Because my parents have sacrificed their time and effort to put food on the table and provide me with the supplies I need to do the best in school, I have proven to be a bright student. Because I have experienced drastic setbacks (losing textbooks and calculators from those who were willing to steal them) that took weeks for me to mentally recover, in addition to, overcoming fatigue from weekly "all- nighters" because of a large workload, I am definitely prepared to overcome the greatest hardships I may witness in the future.

Furthermore, if I were to describe myself today, I view myself as friendly, humble, mature, and focused on what I want to be in the future. Although I do not possess many leadership roles, I inspire my classmates because I am a person who shows, not tells, others what it takes to succeed. My demeanor has given me "the most likely to succeed" tag, which I accept as I strive to become an outstanding ophthalmologist.

I am one who not only needs this scholarship, but fully represents the "Courage to Grow".

Anthony Chao
High School Senior - La Puente, CA

Oct 2010 Award Recipient
Selah West
Oct. 2010
I grew up in a cabin on twenty acres of land among the mountains. My parents planned to live in it temporarily while my dad built a house sufficient enough to raise a family in. Those plans were soon forgotten when they divorced. My father moved away leaving my mom to raise three children in an unfinished cabin. Our main source of power was six 12-volt batteries which were charged by solar panels. A generator served as emergency backup because my mom couldn't afford to buy gas for it regularly. The cabin was heated by a wood stove. Every summer we split and stacked the wood needed for the following winter. To conserve water, we used water from the bathtub to flush the toilet. When the septic tank got full we hiked into the woods with a shovel until we could afford to have it pumped. Continually struggling for money, we grew up without most of the material possessions that our friends took for granted. Yet what I perceived as disadvantages growing up, I now see as intangibles added to my character that I could not attain with any other situation. Growing up as a child on the bare minimum has given me an understanding of the importance of hard work. As a young adult I hold the convictions and morals it takes to be successful in life and attribute these qualities to the example my mom set and the cabin that gave me more than I could ever imagine.

Selah West
Central Washington University


Privacy Policy

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Information We Receive and How It Is Used:
All personal information obtained by CourageToGrowScholarship.com about individual visitors to our website is information supplied voluntarily by that visitor. Our website's scholarship application form requires users to volunteer contact information such as name and email. We ask if we may make that information available to our Educational partners, which are reputable, leading companies and organizations that provide products and services of interest to students and parents. Our users choose whether to opt-in or opt-out of sharing their information with these partners.

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CourageToGrowScholarship.com is committed to safeguarding users' privacy on our website. We require our staff to protect our users and visitors by keeping their profile information private, and expect our educational partners to do the same. You can feel confident that your user profile will be protected when you visit CourageToGrowScholarship.com . We have security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of all user information under our control.

Information Sharing & Email Preferences:
CourageToGrowScholarship.com understands the importance of protecting personally-identifiable information. We will not share, sell, rent or otherwise transfer this information without the user's permission, and then only in accordance with the terms set forth in this Privacy Policy. Our website provides users the opportunity to unsubscribe (opt-out) from receiving email messages from CourageToGrowScholarship.com and its education partners, or from having their personal information shared with our education partners.

We may communicate with our users through email to respond to visitors' emails, to send information that a user has requested, or to inform users of new or updated scholarship awards. In the event a user contacts CourageToGrowScholarship.com directly via email, they will not be subject to receive any communication other than a response to that email such as promotional materials, unless the user specifically requests additional information.

Collection of Passive Information
To gauge the effectiveness of our website, we collect generic information about our visitors that is not individually-identifiable. Our web site automatically recognize a visitor's IP address, the web page from which a visitor enters our website, which pages a visitor visits, and how much time a visitor spends on each page. This information does not reveal a visitor's identity. We aggregate this information and use it to help diagnose problems with our web server, to administer to our website, or to evaluate and improve our website's functions and resources. We use cookies to tell our server that a visitor has initiated a user session; however, they do not contain individually-identifiable information. Some of our business partners, such as advertisers, use cookies on our site, but we have no access to, nor control over, these cookies. This Privacy Policy covers the use of cookies by CourageToGrowScholarship.com only and does not cover the use of cookies by our business partners.

We may share statistical and demographic information about our website's visitors with our educational partners. This information is only provided in the aggregate, meaning that the information is about our website's visitors as a group and not about individually-identifiable visitors.

We follow generally-accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. However, no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100 percent secure. Therefore, while we strive to use commercially-acceptable means to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

If you have any questions about security on our website, you can contact our privacy department .

Links to Other Websites

CourageToGrowScholarship.com contains text links to other websites. CourageToGrowScholarship.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of those websites.

Collection of Information from Children
In April 2000, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was passed to regulate the gathering of personal data online from children under the age of 13. CourageToGrowScholarship.com abides by COPPA, and works diligently to ensure compliance with the law. As such, CourageToGrowScholarship.com will not knowingly collect any personally-identifiable information from children under the age of 13, nor will children under the age of 13 be allowed to register with CourageToGrowScholarship.com .

Notification of Changes
If we are going to use your personally identifiable information in a manner materially different from that stated at the time of collection, we will notify you via email. You will have the option to decide whether we may use your information in this manner. In addition, if we make any material changes to our Privacy Policy that do not affect user information already stored in our database, we will post a prominent notice on our website notifying users of the change. In cases where we post notice of changes, we may also email users who have opted to receive communications from us, notifying them of those changes to our privacy practices.

We post user testimonials on our website, all of which are volunteered and none of which contain individually-identifiable information beyond that user's first name, last initial, and photograph. Each user is made aware of the purpose of their supplied testimonial and the fact that it will be published at CourageToGrowScholarship.com . Users are under no obligation to participate, and we obtain the user's consent prior to posting this information.

CourageToGrowScholarship.com has adopted privacy principles that state our commitment and define our policy on safeguarding visitor and user privacy when we conduct our business. Questions regarding this Privacy Policy statement, the practices of this website, or your dealings with CourageToGrowScholarship.com should be directed to CourageToGrowScholarship.com 's privacy department . Alternatively, you may contact us at: