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College Scholarship Fund
It takes a village to raise a child... let's raise one to greatness together!
It is our hope that we can come together as a community and lend a financial hand to one of our own rising stars. One shining example of a Clinton Township high school senior will be chosen to receive a scholarship towards college expenses. We invite you to join us. Please make checks payable to the Clinton Township Senior Center.
For more information call Debbie Travis at 586-723-8125.
Seniors Helping Seniors
Friends of the Clinton Twp. Senior Center College Scholarship Fund
Most people agree the name of the fundraising program that assists Clinton Township students is a lengthy one, and it doesn’t lend itself to a catchy acronym either. Still, to Senior Center Assistant Director Debbie Travis, the name best reflects the fund’s support.
“The Friends of the Clinton Township Senior Center College Scholarship Fund is supported by more people than those from the Senior Center or its members,” said Travis. “It’s important for people to know that other entities lend support.” One, to the tune of a $5,000 contribution from a trust fund, which, according to Travis, can help spark larger donations down the road.
Established in 2015, the program raises funds to award scholarships to Clinton Township High School Seniors in the spirit of “paying it forward” with the mindset of “it takes a village to raise a child.” Not only is the program name lengthy, raising funds is a long process, too, with Travis handling all the details. From donor solicitation beginning in December to awarding and recognizing the winners at a televised Board meeting in late May.
“Our goal, in the beginning, was to give a thousand dollars, and that’s what we were able to attain in our first year, plus a little extra,” said Travis. “Things took off in our second year, and since then, we’ve been able to award two $1,000 scholarships annually.”
“When you think about it, students who are high achievers, the ones who sacrifice so much to earn scholarships, often miss out on some of the fun activities that are out there because they’re studying so hard,” said Travis. “One great thing about our scholarship is that the cash award goes directly into the hands of the kids, where many other scholarships go directly to the school the student is attending and are applied to their tuition bill. That’s fine, but we love to be able to give the cash in hand for them to be able to do whatever they want with it,” she said.
None of the scholarship funds are used to pay overhead or administration fees and are tax-deductible as charitable donations.
Travis says she solicits donations to the fund at every event and party held at the Senior Center, beginning with the Christmas party in December. Another donor drive announcement is made at the annual St. Patrick’s event held in March. Also, awareness ads are placed in the Senior Adult Life Center quarterly newsletter.
At the Christmas party, attendees can add their names to paper snowflakes decorations that hang from the ceiling for contributions for as little as a dollar. Donors who give more than $20 are recognized in the newsletter. Those who give $100 or more are invited to join the panel to judge the applicants.
“Our judges bring their own values in selecting the scholarship recipients,” said Travis. “The panel meets to go over the applications, and I give them some basic instruction for scoring the different sections of the application but also the freedom to utilize whatever they value while considering the criteria.”
Scholarship entries must be submitted by May 1 and are limited to Clinton Township residents who are high school seniors. Employees of the Township and their immediate families are ineligible to receive a scholarship. Applicants must complete 30 or more hours of documented, qualified community service during their junior/senior year of high school. Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study, an accredited two or four-year college, university, trade, or vocational school.
Perhaps one of the more challenging requirements for an applicant is the personal expression assignment, in the form of a written essay, video, or another creative format, demonstrating how they have lived with passion in their past and purpose toward their future.
“We’re kind of under the radar when compared to the big scholarship opportunities that are out there,” said Travis. “Large companies, who are well-known, get thousands of applicants, but the odds of winning with a smaller entity like ours are so much greater. But for us to be able to support people in our community this way is just fantastic.”
Travis says the scholarship fund supporters love the ability to help raise one of their community members to become a potential future leader. “To have that kind of involvement really strikes a chord with our seniors,” she said.
If you are interested in supporting the Friends of the Clinton Township Senior Center College Scholarship Fund, please make checks payable to: Clinton Twp. Senior Center, 40730 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48038