Monday, April 30, 2018
One year ago, high school senior Fatma walked into a room where seven individuals were waiting to interview her.
“I was so excited and really nervous…but as the interview process kept going, I could feel that they were really connecting and resonating with me and that made me a lot more comfortable and confident to continue sharing my story.”
Fatma was one of 10 Bellevue high school seniors who received college scholarships from Bellevue LifeSpring last year. These renewable scholarships provide a path for students living in poverty to continue their education at a four-year college or university and pursue their passions toward a brighter future.
Allow Students to Achieve Their Full Potential
Last June, Bellevue LifeSpring awarded a total of 26 scholarships; 16 to renewing students and 10 to incoming freshmen.
This opportunity to earn a degree equips students to achieve a living-wage, fulfilling career, breaking the generational cycle of poverty.
“The program is so valuable to our community because it gives these bright, enthusiastic, future societal leaders the opportunity to pursue their dream of attaining a higher education degree,” shared Mike Collum, a volunteer who served as a scholarship advisor last year. Volunteer advisors are passionate individuals who help to review applications, interview candidates and determine which students are the best fit for scholarship.
Grit & Passion
Sherry Frost has been serving as a advisor for several years. She thinks college scholarships is a critical program: “I strongly feel the only way to lift someone out of the cycle of poverty is to offer them a chance at an education.”
Sherry’s passion for this program and the opportunities it provides is shared by Rima Abifaker-Fotoohi, another volunteer who served as an advisor last year: “Education doesn’t just get people better jobs; it inspires innovation, solutions to social and community issues and breaks the cycle of poverty. It empowers people to be more productive, more confident and more generous.”
During interviews, students have the opportunity to share their passions, their challenges and how they’ve overcome them in order to pursue their dreams.
“I was so impressed with the majority of the applicants,” Mike told us. “Hearing about their challenges living in a low-income environment, but observing their grit and passion to not let those obstacles diminish their personal drive to succeed and change their worlds for the better.”
“I will always remember a student who was “couch surfing” while he finished high school with straight As,” Sherry recalled. “Unbelievable!”
“I loved hearing about their lives and their goals, and what they aspire to accomplish,” Rima added. “I was surprised that many of them were self-motivated, without any parental or family support. They are the ones I admire the most. And frankly, they are the ones who need us the most.”
Education Will Serve Them for the Rest of Their Lives
“Our Bellevue LifeSpring programs serve kids in need now, but their education will serve them for the rest of their lives.” – Rima
Fatma is now finishing up her freshman year at the University of Washington with an Informatics major. All scholarship recipients have the opportunity to renew their scholarships if they continue to demonstrate financial need and sustain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Bellevue LifeSpring’s scholarships are renewable for four years.
Our current team of volunteer advisors is preparing to review the applications of a new class of Bellevue School District seniors. We can’t wait to see who walks through the door this year.