2019 Citizens Bank Undergraduate Scholarship was closed as of August 01, 2019. We're excited to announce the winners!
Winners and their entries:
Leanne Joyce | Furman University
In 2011, I founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit Positive Impact for Kids as a result of personal adversity and a desire to help others. I have now raised over $145,000 to improve the hospital experience for pediatric patients throughout the United States. Financial donations are used to purchase distraction and education tools which are channeled to hospital staff to meet the emotional and physical needs of their hospitalized children. My non-profit has provided over 130 iPads, 3,000 gift cards, many gaming systems, and a multitude of additional items, impacting the lives of more than 600,000 children.
iPads and laptops are invaluable versatile tools that are generally not budgeted for within hospital systems. Each iPad affects between 365-20,000 children per year, depending on the location of utilization. If I had $100,000 to give to my non-profit, I would provide hope to thousands of hospitalized children. Pediatric patients deserve a semblance of normalcy within the hospital environment. In order to understand the comfort my donations provide to patients; I have included part of a thank you letter I received from a hospitalized child after he received a gift from my non-profit.
“I’ve spent most of my teenage years here. Things don’t seem to be getting any better, sometimes I really, really want to die, but music is one of my most helpful coping skills. Songs like…have stopped me from making a bad decision. So in a roundabout way, you have helped me stay alive and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
Adrianna Arroyo | Linfield College
The Department of Justice estimates a 1.7 million teens experience homelessness in the United States. 34% of the total homeless population is under 24 years old. This statistic is distressing as that is supposed to be the typical age one completes college by. The worst part is that 80% of teens say their parents knew they were leaving. Not enough is being done to fight this and end teen homelessness. Too often are teens written off as rude, hopeless, or blamed as a lazy generation.
With $100,000 dollars I would open a drop-in center for teens in my community. This would be a safe haven for them to come seek shelter and food. By providing shelter and food teens can at minimum have the basic necessities to survive. Teens can hopefully thrive by having the support around them and the center could cut down the percentage of teens on the street. Having this in the community would also educate the public about the issue.
I feel it is extremely important to remind not only the teens experiencing it that the problem at hand is important. By opening a drop-in center teens can access resources that will aid them in getting ahead. It also provides an address for teens if they desire a job and will always offer a meal for the hungry. Too many teens are on the streets without help. The drop-in center would be a small step in changing that.
Eden Eskaros | Cairn University
A TCTC Center would offer children a base for community service. Adult volunteers would organize community projects, such as serving veterans. Then, children would arrive at the center, sign up for projects, and report to a service team. For example, one little girl could help paint food drive posters while another young man prepares care packages for the nursing home.
With $100,000, I would create a TCTC Center, purchase supplies, and hire the center’s manager. In every community, there arise areas in need of service. Through a TCTC Center, not only would immediate community needs be answered, but the next generation would also learn how to serve future communities.
True joy is not found in satisfying self, but in bettering others. At a TCTC Center, children would find opportunities to use their time wisely. But most importantly, children would discover why Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
Daniela Rodriguez | Florida University
There are plenty of programs available that offer free and affordable meals to students in need during the school year, which provide nutritious breakfast and lunches so that a child will never go hungry while seeking an education. Many low-income families rely on school provided meals as a major food source for their kids. Unfortunately, once the term has ended, many young scholars go hungry without the reliability of a meal program. To erase the gap between low-income children and accessible foods, I would use $100,000 to contribute towards ending childhood hunger in my community by creating a free summer meal program for students to ensure that they can continue to receive nutritious meals when school is no longer in session. It can be available seven days a week and use a voucher system that gives students access to food three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This creates an organized system that can be easily replicated and used as a reference for future summers. Every student, regardless of family income, will have an opportunity to work towards becoming a future leader without going on an empty stomach. Implementing a free summer meal program in my community will allow for every child to have access to food and serve as a catalyst to promote the need for more programs that can further work towards ending childhood hunger.
August 01, 2019