College is a seemingly basic prospect, one that’s “out there” for the taking. But for some students — ones who wonder where the next meal will come from — it’s an abstract notion too “out there” to waste time dreaming about.
The Hendrick Scholarship Foundation says otherwise. Since 1991, its calling has been to award scholarships to students wanting to break the cycle of poverty, hunger and adversity.
The brainchild of former Plano ISD Supt. Dr. H. Wayne Hendrick and a group of city businessmen, the Hendrick Scholarship Foundation has awarded approximately 400 scholarships totaling more than $2 million since its inception 30 years ago.
“But the mission isn’t as simple as handing over money,” says Shelley Strickland, marketing and community relations chair and member of the organization’s executive board of directors.
“Scholarship recipients have up to six years to complete our program,” she says. “Starting after high school graduation, students are required among other obligations to engage in academic planning, attend life/work/school skills workshops and regularly meet with our success coaches to ensure they stay on track.”
What kinds of challenges and adversity are we talking about?
Financial insecurity. English language barriers. Mental and physical abuse. Neglect. Incarcerated or drug-addicted parents. No family history of completing high school or educational encouragement. Working after school and weekends as a family’s sole or primary breadwinner. Going to bed hungry and scared.
Berk Smith, the incoming Board President, states “We target what is sadly a large and growing population of underserved youth in our community. We provide robust solutions for these at-risk students with amazing results,” Smith says.
Working with Plano ISD counselors and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teachers, Smith says Hendrick Scholarship Foundation efforts transform lives.
Berk continues, “The key is that our model pairs scholarship students with coaches for academic, career, and life skills support. Applications for our program went up 70% this year; the need is enormous, but, awareness is growing.”
“Our students are looking to break the poverty cycle through education. Achieving a college degree is transformative for their entire family changing the trajectory for generations to come.” The earning differential between degree holders and non-degree holders exceeds $1 million over one individual’s lifetime. High school graduates without a degree are expected to earn 50% less than those obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Where are Hendrick graduates now?
“We have teachers within PISD, nurses at local hospitals, some work for Collin College, American Airlines and local engineering firms. One of our graduates even owns a landscape business here in town and another alumni was recently hired by Hendrick Scholarship Foundation,” Strickland says.
Mara Lilly, Operations Manager for Hendrick describes the foundation’s current needs as:
• Financial support. The Hendrick Scholarship Foundation provides up to $15,000 per student for college education through a bachelor’s degree. All levels of donations are needed and appreciated (click here).
• Volunteers. Life coaches, mentors, academic tutors and administrative help.
• Internship opportunities. Network contacts for community engagement and future employment.
“The Hendrick Scholarship Foundation is a proven successful solution for Plano’s underserved population,” she says. “Our college graduation rate is over five times more successful than the statewide average for the same at-risk market.”
Want to help close the economic gap in our community? Contact the Hendrick Scholarship Foundation today and make a difference in a student’s life. More than a degree. Changing Lives.
850 Central Parkway East, Suite 120, Plano 75074
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