Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National and state college scholarships available for HS students that are/were homeless (Deadline Oct 30!)

One of the key factors in ending homelessness is education.  This Saturday, October 30, is the deadline for homeless, formerly homeless, and at-risk high school students across the U.S., including Puerto Rico, to apply for a Horatio Alger Association college scholarship.  Almost 1,000 scholarships are available this year.

Horatio Alger is a fantastic organization which exists to help students who have overcome hardship attend college. This year, through a partnership with Give US Your Poor: The Campaign to End Homelessness (part of UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies), they are targeting students that have experienced homelessness.

The relationship came about in 2007, when we were hosting, along with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the Give US Your Poor Concert for Boston’s Homeless. The concert featured amazing artists that happened to have experienced homelessness performing with celebrity artists (Natalie Merchant, Mario Frangoulis, Mighty Sam McClain, Buffalo Tom). All artists that night were also on the Give US Your Poor CD (Appleseed Recordings) alongside many other homeless and celebrity artists.

During his performance, Greek tenor, Mario Frangoulis, welcomed 13-year-old Kyla Middleton on stage. Kyla is a top-notch student, articulate public speaker, sings beautifully on the CD (with Dan Zanes), and was homeless with her family for a year. Mario and Kyla sang a duet of John Lennon’s, “Imagine,” before the Dorchester audience.  Tears.  Applause.  Standing ovation.

Then Mario had a special message for Kyla. She was being awarded a $20,000 college scholarship from The Horatio Alger Association.  (See article.) That was a cool moment. So cool, that it inspired UMass Boston Chancellor, Dr. Keith Motley, to create a 4 year scholarship, given annually, to attend UMass Boston for a Mass. student that has experienced homelessness.

Which leads us to the scholarships offered this year: almost 1,000 total. Please encourage high school students you know that are graduating in the spring or summer of 2011 and have been, or are, homeless to apply for this scholarship. There are over 100 national scholarships worth $20,000 each as well as state-specific scholarships of $2,500-$10,000 depending on the state. For links to criteria and on-line application, click here. Deadline is Sat. October 30, 2010 and some paperwork (is collecting of supplementary materials is required, so make sure to allow time to assemble). If you can help get the word out in this final week to your network it is most appreciated.

Photo title is "College Graduation Smile" by portorikan via Creative Commons.