Though her mother’s diagnosis of a rare form of lung cancer has put tremendous financial strain on the family, an eighth grader from Minnesota will be joining her classmates on their class trip to Washington, D.C., after all, thanks to a full scholarship from Helping Hands. The student and her family received the unexpected announcement just in time for the holidays.
In all, 40 students received Helping Hands Scholarships for their 2013 trips, thanks to a concerted company-wide fundraising effort that included bake sales, snack sales, and a raffle. Through a variety of initiatives, WorldStrides employees in our 16 offices worldwide raised $17,600 to help students with economic hardships. As in years past, WorldStrides matched the employee total, bringing the scholarship fund to $35,200. This represents a 76% increase over last year!
Helping Hands was established in 2002 to ensure that deserving students can bridge the financial gap that lets them have the opportunity to experience the travel programs we value so much. This year, WorldStrides received more than 500 nominations from Program Leaders on behalf of students in need. “There were many deserving students this year,” organizer Alyson Wood said. “We’re so excited to be able to make a difference for these 40 students. It’s inspiring to be a part of making their travel experience possible.”
Thank you to the Program Leaders who applied for Helping Hands Scholarships on behalf of these deserving young men and women. Here are a few of their stories:
-a student from Texas determined not to let her physical challenges limit her participation on her class trip
“[She] was born without any hands or lower legs and with a malformed jaw. She has had several surgeries to allow her to speak more clearly, and she uses prosthetic legs which allow her to walk.”
-a young man from Idaho who lives in a group home as part of the foster care system
“[He] has been a ward of the state since both parents had their parental rights terminated. As the youngest person residing in the group home, he is limited to what he is able to do and has never been out of the state.”
-a student from Florida whose family’s housing situation has been unstable
“[This student] and his family do not have a home of their own. He and his family live in another person’s home for shelter and yet make the most of each day, always with a smile.”
Be sure to check the scholarships page of our website for more information on funding opportunities and deadlines!