Though her eyesight is deteriorating from a medical condition that will eventually leave her blind, an eighth grader from Wisconsin will see Washington, D.C., this March, thanks to a full scholarship from Helping Hands. The scholarship program is funded by WorldStrides employees to help students with economic hardships experience the travel programs we value so much.
In all, 34 students received Helping Hands Scholarships for 2012, thanks to a tremendous fundraising effort in our offices worldwide. With events like bake sales, raffles, and an Oscar pool, WorldStrides employees raised $10,000. WorldStrides matched that total, bringing the scholarship fund to $20,000!
The demand for the Helping Hands Scholarship was tremendous in 2012, as WorldStrides received more than 800 nominations from Program Leaders for students in need. “The Helping Hands committee read every nomination carefully,” organizer Alyson Wood said. “We selected students with not only economic hardship, but deserving personal stories. It is very rewarding to be in a position to help these students have this awesome opportunity.”
Below are examples of some of the deserving young men and women who will travel with WorldStrides this spring, thanks to Helping Hands. Thank you to their Program Leaders for sharing their stories, as quoted here:
-a student from Nevada who was abandoned by her mother after her father’s death
“[Her] social worker believes a trip like this would provide a sense of normalcy to a young lady who has lacked any of that in the past two years.”
-a young woman from Minnesota whose mother has been diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer that has put great financial strain on the family
“The opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., would be not only an invaluable learning experience for [her], but also a chance for her to take her mind off the worries about her family.”
-a student from California who lives in a homeless shelter with her family
“The family was recently evicted from their home…Despite the hardship, [she] comes to school on a regular basis, maintains a good attitude, and has kept up her grades.”
-an Ethiopian immigrant adopted by an American family with nine children, looking forward to seeing the capital of the nation that saved his life
“Tough times have taught [him] at a young age about perseverance and humility, which have shaped him into the respectful and kind young man he is today.”
-a young lady from Massachusetts who was missing school because she didn’t have enough clothes to wear
“When I found out about the Helping Hands Scholarships, I informed [her] about it and told her that I would nominate her as long as she continued to come to school every day…Since this discussion, [she] has come alive. She has not missed a day of school.”
Be sure to check the scholarships page of our website for more information on funding opportunities and deadlines!