The YWCA of Greater Cincinnati is offering a scholarship opportunity for African American female high school seniors who have overcome significant obstacles. Ten local, female, African American female students will be selected to receive the YWCA Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes young African-American women who have been successful despite having to overcome significant hardships. The YWCA not only offers
financial support to the students, but also an opportunity to meet and learn from some of Greater Cincinnati’s most successful, empowered career women, as the young women are invited to attend the 37th Annual YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.
The YWCA Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 to provide financial assistance and support to an outstanding African-American female high school senior entering a post-secondary institution. There is 1 winner who receives $3,000, 2 Runners-Up receive $1000 each, 7 Honorable Mentions receive $250 each.
The application deadline is Thursday, January 21, 2016. Applications are available at www.ywcacincinnati.org/mes
Meet the 2015 Scholarship Winner
Lily-Michelle Arthur’s family’s hopes for a better life in Cincinnati crumbled soon after they arrived from their native Ghana. Her parents divorced, and the then Norwood High School teenager began handling household duties and caring for her siblings while her mother worked at a minimum-wage job. That experience was Lily-Michelle’s lesson in adaptation. She vowed to strive for high academic grades and success in whatever she did. Last year when she won the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati’s Mamie Earls Sells Scholarship presented by Kroger, she was ranked first in her class with a GPA of 3.9, wass Norwood High School’s senior class president, founder of the school’s Key Club and a member of the National Honor Society and Academic Team. She also volunteered at Good Samaritan and Christ Hospitals.
Lily-Michelle attends Emory University and is studying pre-med. She wants to be a pediatric neurologist and dreams of serving in humanitarian medical missions around the world.
“I want to leave behind a legacy that success is attainable despite personal or social challenges,” she said.
All of us have within ourselves the power to make a positive contribution. Cultivating that good through a sincere respect, caring and appreciation is one of the most important gifts we can give.
In our hectic lives filled with deadlines and so many responsibilities, we sometimes need a little reminder. It is the here and now that counts, and every one and every moment that gives our life meaning.
That was the purpose behind my creating the Good Things Pledge several years ago and hundreds of people have signed up – either through my blog or in person – to be Good Things Pledge Champions.
I recently stopped by the Kennedy Heights Montessori Center where the entire school became Good Things Pledge Champions. Before handing out their certificates, I read a book and led a discussion with them about kindness, appreciation and friendship. Then one of the students read the Pledge aloud. Please see the video below to watch. I was so proud of them all!
What is the Good Things Pledge?
The Good Things Pledge is simply a promise – a personal vow that involves liking yourself and others, appreciating the little things that make life special, being kind, and being aware that every small act has the potential for a huge impact. Those behaviors are collectively called Good Things and many people already are already doing them.
By becoming a Good Things Pledge Champion, you are making a promise to remind yourself every day of what is positive…And you are helping to keep Good Things Going Around.
Every Champion receives a personalized Pledge certificate.
It is one of the most unique and broad reaching efforts to inspire lifelong wise and generous philanthropists. In its seventh year, nonprofit Magnified Giving kicked off the 2014-2015 school year by giving money to groups of students from a record 52 regional schools, with the charge of extensively researching, debating, discussing, and ultimately investing it wisely into causes of value to them. It all culminated with those more than 2,500 students collectively granting nearly $100,000 to 70 diverse charities in a series of awards ceremonies.
This is the second year that I have helped Magnified Giving spread the word about its impact. (You will probably be reading about it in a community paper near you soon.)
Four students were also recognized with Roger Grein Spirit of Philanthropy Award, nominated by teachers and selected for exemplifying the meaning of philanthropy as expressed through essays. Honorees included: Julie Gyure from Perry High School, Alex Deters from St. Xavier High School, Becca Faeth from Holy Cross High School and Katie Perry from Roger Bacon High School.
To truly understand the power of this organization is to read what these honorees had to say about how participating has changed their outlook, changed their life. Below are excerpts from their essays.
“This program has shown me that philanthropy is all about fixing our society’s problem of inequality from its roots, not just with monetary donations, but with time. Volunteering at organizations and taking your own time to get to know them and make personal connections. Using your talents, finding what you personally do well and then applying that to an organization, such as using an eye for fashion at Dress for Success, or culinary skills at a soup kitchen. A quote that my dad always says is ‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ The meaning of philanthropy is use your time, talent, and treasures to do something you love that the common good can benefit from. Magnified Giving taught me that philanthropy isn’t just a definition written in my notebook, but it is a feeling that you demonstrate through giving back to the community.” – Katie Perry
“Mr. Grein came to speak to my service class at St. X, and I paid close attention to every word of his life’s story, especially the parts concerning his service and work for the common good. He was describing a particular moment in his life, in which he came to realize his love of service and the call he felt to serve, and realizing it or not, Mr. Grein articulated the exact conversion that was taking place in my heart….Deep within my heart, I began to feel a call to selflessness, a call to help my fellow man, but more than anything, a call to service. This call has changed my life irreversibly. I will never be able to see the world the way I did before, and I have decided I will live out this call to service wherever it may take me in my life, following Mr. Grein’s example.” – Alex Deters
“Roger (Grein)’s story touched my heart and I want to do something good for the world just like Roger did! The Magnified Giving program is just my first step! The program gives me the opportunity to go out in the world and lend a helping hand to those who need it. I can give my time, support, and love to people who struggle every day. Magnified giving has raised my confidence in becoming a better person. The program has helped me to see how easy it is just to help someone out whether by money, time, etc. I feel like I am an important part in this world because of this program. It helped me see that I want to help people and have a passion for helping others. The program has brought me closer to the outside world, it has brought my school community closer, and it even brought my family together.” – Becca Faeth
“By participating in civic and volunteer activities, I found my niche. I absolutely love working with people, especially when it is for the betterment of society. This has led me to an undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati in organizational leadership with a minor in human resources and nonprofit work. Now I believe that as long as one follows their passion; the size of a paycheck does not seem so important. Fast forward ten years. I plan to be working at a nonprofit such as Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or Make-a-Wish. I’ll be working alongside individuals who are all there for the same reason; to address an issue occurring in the community, working for justice. My team should consist of human resource gurus that not only focus on community needs, but the needs of their fellow co-workers. Together we will be able to apply our skills and talents to create a positive environment in the workplace and for the people we serve. Magnified Giving has set the path for my future and I will forever be indebted to this amazing organization for doing so.” – Julie Gyure
2014-2015 Participating Schools:
Participating Schools include Aiken High School, Anderson High School, Aurora, Badin High School, Bellevue High School, Bethel-Tate High School, Bishop Brossart High School, Bishop Fenwick High School, Catholic Central High School, Chaminade Julienne High School, Cincinnati Country Day High School, Colerain High School, Covington Catholic High School, Dater high School, Deer Park High School, DePaul Cristo Rey, East Clinton high School, Elder High School, Highlands High School, Holmes High School, Holy Cross High School, Indian Hill High School, Lakota East Freshman School, LaSalle High School, Loveland High School, Madeira Middle School, McAuley High School, McNicholas High School, Mother of Mercy High School, Milford High School, Mt. Notre Dame High School, Moeller High School, New Bremen High School, Notre Dame Academy, Perry High School, Purcell Marian High School, Reading High School, Roger Bacon high School, School for Creative & Performing Arts, Seton High School, Seven Hills High School, Shroder High School, Springer School, St. Henry High School, St. Xavier High School, Summit Country Day, Taft Information Technology High School, Taylor High School, Villa Madonna high School and Wyoming High School.
Cincinnati Bell, a partner of Taft Information Technology High School, donated the seed money for Taft’s grant funding.
Heard about the Assistance League?
The Assistance League is an all volunteer nonprofit organization in Greater Cincinnati and its signature program is Operation School Bell has provided new school uniforms to 1,908 students during the 2014 to 2015 school year. The organization has helped the children in need in 35 public and parochial schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. Each school uniform consists of short and long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, underwear, a belt, a fleece jacket and a pair of shoes. Individuals and grantors enthusiastically support this program which directly impacts a child by providing an essential need – clothing. Learn more: http://www.assistanceleaguecincinnati.org/
This is National Volunteer Week, seven days of celebrating the good will of millions across the country who have given of their time, their hearts, and their resources to enhance lives and causes that are meaningful to them.
Locally, large and small nonprofit organizations working to improve neighborhoods, strengthen families, save non-human animals, and lift people up could quite simply not do their very important work without the generosity of others. More than 8000 people give of their time to the FreeStore FoodBank alone. And that is just one of hundreds of causes in our Greater Cincinnati area.
Tonight I am told the staff and board members of nonprofit Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, that has empowered more than 160,000 vulnerable children and young adults since its founding through the mentorship of positive adult role models, will be very busy. They will be calling EVERY active CYC volunteer and thanking each one for his/her time and effort.
Wow, that is a lot of phone calls!
They will be reaching out to people like Harry Blanton, a CYC mentor for 18 years. His first mentee was Patrick, who at nine years old had an incarcerated father and a mother struggling with addiction. Thanks to Blanton’s influence in his life, Patrick attended St. Xavier High School, then Xavier University, and is now a financial counselor pursuing a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He and Harry are still close, and even recently attended CYC’s Trivia Night for Brighter Futures together, playing on the same team. “It is a joy to have Patrick in my life and I can’t imagine it without him,” said Harry.
The feeling is shared by Patrick. “I am an example that even though the cards are stacked against you, you can succeed if you have the right people on your side,” he attested. “CYC provided that person to me: Harry Blanton.”
Success stories like theirs is not uncommon at CYC. Just last fall, former mentee Lamont got married with his mentor Tim Clarke by his side – as none other than his best man. Matched when Lamont was just 13, the resulting relationship was so important to Lamont that instead of wedding favors, he gave a gift to CYC in honor of every wedding guest.
The gesture’s weight was not lost on Tim. “When I saw on the place setting the little card, I was unable to give the regular speech I had prepared,” he said. “I just had to thank him. For him to want a gift to give to CYC for this to happen to someone else—I got emotional. It was a great day.”
Volunteers are everywhere
These are such beautiful stories. And with those two, there are thousands more too of people all around us, and even ourselves, who are making a positive difference.
The dictionary definition of a volunteer is: a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself a service or undertaking. This means that to be a volunteer doesn’t necessarily mean you are going through a social service agency. It is as simple as an act of kindness to a stranger on the street or an extended hand or ear to a friend or loved one who needs someone to be there.
Today, let’s celebrate those wonderful gifts. But also, let’s commit to finding ways of giving those gifts every day.