Eager to Learn, Grow, and Understand

by Aly Quiroz-Perez, Program Associate 

“I am not very good at skiing, so I want to improve this skill. I am excited to ski down the mountains of snow and have the wind blowing in my face.” -Gary Z., 7th grade

The Youth Opportunity Scholarship is a program that allows low-income middle school students to apply for funds to pursue fun extracurricular activities and explore something new that they have always wanted to try. Whether it is learning to play an instrument, taking dance lessons, attending a circus camp, or learning how to rock climb, the youth get to choose these activities based on their interests.

These youth come from low-income backgrounds and often lack the typical opportunities that their peers have to explore their interests and engage in extracurricular activities. Students write in their application essays that their families do not have the financial resources to pay for classes or lessons, but these youth are dedicated to growing, making and meeting their goals, and building new connections.

“The guitar and any other instruments are the base to the international language that is music. I would love to be a part of that and to expand my instrumental understanding. I have never previously taken any guitar lessons. I would be a beginner, however, I am eager to learn, to grow, and understand.” -Jacqueline D., 9th grade

“One day I would like to become an engineer pilot and work in the field of aviation. I should be chosen for the scholarship because it would give me an opportunity to learn more about aviation and spaceflight.” -Jonathan Y., 6th grade

“My goals for the future are to become a veterinarian and a teacher on the side, preferably teaching a language such as Chinese. I want to help people and animals grow.” -Carina W., 7th grade

“My grandma has a piano in her house and growing up I was always curious to play it. A few members of my family have played it and I’ve always found myself looking up how to play piano on YouTube. We also have people playing the piano for us at church and I want to do that for my church too one day.” -Dominick O., 7th grade

“The main reason why I want to go to this camp is because I want to meet new people and become friends with them. I always had a problem with talking to people, but when I do I can trust them. I only have a handful of friends and they are the nicest people on Earth. I want to be able to meet more people like them.” -Jaelyn W., 6th grade

The scholarships are empowering, showing youth that they have the ability to make choices and explore new ideas and interests. Additionally, these scholarships are imbued with a sense of responsibility and ownership, since the youth have to apply for the scholarships on their own. For most, this is the first time they fill out applications, write scholarship essays, and advocate for themselves.

PVF has been administering these scholarships since 2011, partnering with after school program sites to reach children who would benefit from the program. So far, in 2017, we have given out more than $128,000 in $250 to $500 increment scholarships for youth to partake in activities of their choosing.

“The process was effortless, thanks to the wonderful people who work at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, and while I cannot measure the full extent of the positive impact, I absolutely know that our students have had the most wonderful learning experiences that would otherwise be impossible.” -Catherine Cotter, School Counselor, Frick Impact Academy

We are happy to be working with the Lampert Byrd Foundation to make the Youth Opportunity Scholarship available to students. It is essential to give youth the support and encouragement they need in order to help them grow and become confident and successful individuals.

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