By Theresa Harrington
This is the time of year when high school seniors are searching for special scholarships that may apply to their circumstances, but not to everyone else they know. Finding this match can give a senior more motivation to take the extra time to write an essay because they have a personal connection to the topic.
That’s why I’m sharing this announcement from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, which is offering scholarships to teens who write essays about Alzheimer’s affect on them and their families. The deadline is Feb. 15:
“Whether teens are trying to understand the loss of a relative or neighbor to Alzheimer’s disease, or have a volunteer experience to share, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) encourages college-bound students to apply for its 4th annual AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship.
AFA will award $5,000 to the winner, and $500 and $250 prizes for first and second runners-up, respectively, which must be used toward first year tuition at a four-year college or university.
The competitive scholarship application asks students to write a 1,200-1,500 word essay giving thoughtful consideration to ‘the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on their own lives and what they learned about themselves, their family and/or their community in coping with the disease.’
New this year, AFA has introduced an online application process, in addition to mail submissions. The deadline is February 15, 2011. For more details, visit www.afateens.org.
With as many as 5.1 million Americans currently affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence expected to increase dramatically, the scholarship is part of AFA’s efforts through its AFA Teens division to educate and raise awareness among teens across America about the brain disorder. The disease results in loss of memory and other cognitive functions, and, ultimately, death; advanced age is the greatest known risk factor.
The division, founded by a teenager, recently received the ‘Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award’ from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and the Family Caregiver Alliance in recognition of the program’s ‘outstanding service and innovative strategies in serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.’
‘AFA Teens uniquely serves an age group that is often in need and often overlooked,’ said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer. ‘The scholarship provides an opportunity for teens to better understand this disease and come to terms with the many difficult emotions they face when someone they care about has been affected.’
Last year, AFA was inundated with applications from about 1,300 college-bound students across the country. Previous winners have discussed topics such as watching a parent’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, being inspired to become a healthcare professional as a result of a family member’s experience, and finding creative ways to cope with their loved one’s illness.
In addition to the scholarship, AFA Teens features a Web site with information about the disease, and a blog and bulletin board for teens to express their thoughts and share experiences with peers; offers a new annual video competition for teens ages 13-19; and encourages teens to establish AFA Teens chapters in their communities. For more information, visit www.afateens.org.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA and its November events, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.”
Do you know of other unique scholarship opportunities you’d like to share?