Don’t believe everything you read. The millennial generation, decried and slammed by many for being selfish, has demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment to community to an almost unprecedented level. According to a Forbes study, millennials are more likely to volunteer and emphasize the importance of volunteering than their Boomer or Gen X predecessors were at the same age. In fact, when a group of millennials employed by large corporations was surveyed, over half claimed that they accepted their job in part by the causes the companies committed to.
With the last of the millennials trickling through high school into college by 2018, the importance of community service among young people has never been higher. In fact, students are more than ever encouraged to serve their communities and volunteer at a young age. As they say, “what goes around, comes around,” because those that demonstrate outstanding volunteer work will be rewarded with fantastic scholarship opportunities once they apply for college:
Do Something Awards
Designed to reward young civic-minded students with a vision for bettering either their local community or their country at large, the Do Something Awards are the standard-bearer for community service grants. Many different scholarship applications are available through the foundation’s opportunities, which include essay contests, shadowing prominent civic leaders, and tutoring fellow students.
Past winners at the Do Something Awards include current CNN political commentator and civil rights activist Van Jones, who received a financial grant for his efforts to end police misconduct in the San Francisco bay area. Scholarship money is awarded directly to tuition at the school of the student’s choice.
The Carson Scholars Fund, uniquely, starts earlier than other scholarship programs. From the time students are in fourth grade, they are eligible to enter the Carson Scholarship Fund, which rewards both academic excellence and dedication to one’s community.
However, unlike other scholarships, it is up to the individual school to put a student’s name in contention for the award. Students interested must approach a teacher to nominate them for the award. Once given the award, laureates can reapply annually for additional funds. Younger students are awarded the scholarship money for when they go to college, a large medal, and a trophy for their school to display. For those graduating high school, a 3.75 cumulative GPA is required to be considered.
Against The Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded annually to Asian-American high school seniors who “exhibit exemplary leadership, vision, and passion…blazing a trail for others to follow and changing lives in the Asian-American community.” In order to be eligible, students must be of at least 50% Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity and demonstrate values that make them stand out among the other applicants.
Additional requirements include a minimum 3.5 GPA and a college acceptance letter at a four-year accredited university. The winner is later invited to the foundation’s annual charity event in Dallas, Texas.
Heart of America Christopher Reeve Award
This annual award is named for the late actor Christopher Reeve, most known for playing Superman in the hero’s seventies and eighties film series. Following an accident later in his life, Reeve became a quadriplegic, using a wheelchair and portable ventilator until his untimely death at age 52 in 2004. Reeve was known for his advocacy for those with disabilities and bravery in the face of his physical condition, both of which led to his receiving of the Heroes of the Heart award from the Heart of America foundation in 2000.
After his death, Heart of America established the Christopher Reeve Award in his honor. The award is open to those between the ages of 13-18 who demonstrate commitment and courage in serving their communities through volunteer work and other means. The student who the committee decides is most deserving is awarded a $1,000 by the sponsor, Merriam-Webster, to be used at a college of their choice.
Harry S Truman Scholarship
Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, once stated that America was “built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Through the scholarship established in his honor, students who demonstrate these three values will be rewarded with a tremendous grant of $30,000. In total, sixty-five awards are given out to be used towards a graduate education.
To be considered, students must demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, community dedication, commitment to a career in public service, and an inherent ability to be an agent of change. Students interested in applying must contact their school’s Truman representative to be nominated.
Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
While not necessarily a scholarship, for students who plan to enter public service or volunteering, the Huntington Award is the holy grail. Awarded annually to one student, the award provides $15,000 for a graduating college senior to undertake a year-long public service project. Given out since 1989, past winners have set up non-profit organizations, built schools in Kenya, and mentored at-risk urban students, among other great causes.
The application requires an abstract and proposal for the project, a resume, academic transcripts, a proposed budget, and three letters of recommendation, among other aspects.