Simon Youth Foundation awards more than $1 million to college-bound students
The Simon Youth Scholarships program, an initiative of Simon Youth Foundation, has announced $1.15 million in awards to benefit more than 260 nationwide recent high school graduates, many of whom will be first-generation college students when they attend the 2- or 4-year institution of their choice this fall. A list of the 2011 Simon Youth Scholarship winners is available online for viewing or download.
“The mission of Simon Youth Foundation is to ignite hope in students through education,” says J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D., the foundation’s President and CEO. “Our scholarship awards help us meet this goal by removing some of the financial obstacles that would otherwise have prevented post-secondary education opportunities for our recipients.”
Simon Youth Foundation, or SYF, is a national 501(c)(3) public charity that supports 24 Simon Youth Academies, which are alternative schools that serve youth who are at risk of dropping out of high school, in 14 states.
SYF’s second major mission initiative is the Simon Youth Scholarships program, which has awarded more than $9.6 million to more than 3,200 students since 2000. The scholarship program’s 2011 recipients received either one-time or renewable awards that ranged in value from $1,400 to $28,000.
“Students from all walks of life have the potential to do great things, some just need an extra push to begin believing that they can go anywhere their dreams lead them,” Durnil says.
Many Simon Youth Scholarships are awarded in partnership with Simon Property Group malls, outlets and centers, and scholarships are granted to students in any community that is home to an SPG property, including some who also are graduates of aSimonYouthAcademy. Awards are granted based on criteria that include financial need, academic performance and an applicant family’s education history.
“I am so excited to start college. I never thought I could go this far, but here I am, starting college,” Simon Youth Scholarship recipient Olga Courtney, ofYoungstown,Ohio, wrote to the SYF Board of Directors and staff. “Words cannot explain how thankful I am.”
“Because the economy has had difficulties lately, many foundations have ceased to offer scholarships,” Simon Youth Scholarship winner Kerri Walker, of Brandon, Miss., wrote in a letter of thanks to SYF. “I, along with students across the nation, am very grateful for the Simon Youth Foundation and similar organizations that help fund our futures.”
Durnil says 2011 award winners will be attending a broad range of post-secondary institutions that include some of the country’s top colleges, such as the UniversityofPennsylvania, Northwestern University, Emory University, New York University and the Berklee College of Music. They’ll be majoring in biomedical engineering, neurobiology, biochemistry and computer science.