Youth in Philanthropy making a difference in Fort Bend County

2-Stafford High junior Breanna Presley was awarded one of three $5,000 scholarships from The George Foundation at the ‘Youth In Philanthropy’ event last month. U.S. Rep. Pete Olson asked Presley to “pinky-swear” that she won’t run for his congressional seat until he retires. (Submitted photo)

2-Stafford High junior Breanna Presley was awarded one of three $5,000 scholarships from The George Foundation at the ‘Youth In Philanthropy’ event last month. U.S. Rep. Pete Olson asked Presley to “pinky-swear” that she won’t run for his congressional seat until he retires. (Submitted photo)

The Award was given out at their recent Investment in Youth Luncheon. The 2016 YIP program enabled 151 junior and senior high school students from 18 schools in Fort Bend County to learn the role that volunteering and philanthropy play in building a better community for all.

YIP teams implement volunteer projects with the assistance of local nonprofit organizations, allowing students to discover the important role that the nonprofit sector plays in the community.

The partnership between YIP teams and the nonprofit sector also allows students to enter into the philanthropic mode by measuring their new knowledge and experience in volunteering to determine grant awards to be presented to participating nonprofits at the completion of the program.

More than 100 scholarships were presented at the event, and Stafford Municipal School District represented itself extremely well, with seven of its students earning scholarships through the program.

The George Foundation presented three $5,000 scholarships, and Stafford junior Breanna Presley was awarded one of them. Dee Koch of The George Foundation read Presley’s essay before an audience of 2,000 people.

After the ceremony, Presley met U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, who jokingly asked her to “pinky-swear” that she wouldn’t run against him in an election, until he decided to retire.

Stafford seniors Theresa Tran, Eli Washington and Uvie Bikomo, and junior Maraki Samuel were awarded $1,500 scholarships. SHS seniors Frances Narvaez and Jennifer Say were presented $1,000 Community Service Scholarships.

“I am so impressed with the idea that students were required to engage in community service to qualify for a scholarship,” Stafford High Principal Misti Morgan said. “The program really develops character. Through Community Service programs, they built a skill that will stay with them for a lifetime.”

Tran, who received her scholarship from the Fort Bend Medical Society, plans on studying pre-medicine at Texas A&M, with plans of becoming a neurologist. Washington and Bikomo each received their scholarship from the Smart Financial Credit Union. Washington plans to study construction management at UT-San Antonio, and Bikomo is going to major in political science at Texas A&M.

Samuel received her scholarship from the Primeway Federal Credit Union. Narvaez is going to attend Texas Tech as a civil engineering major, and Say will study business at Wharton County Junior College.“The Youth In Philanthropy program was really fun,” Narvaez said. “We got to know our teammates. It was pretty cool.”

There will be an event in the near future for the scholarship recipients to meet representatives from the organizations that presented them with scholarships.

YIP has been in existence since 1997 and has been a community partnership with the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, Fort Bend County school districts, local businesses and the community-at-large.

For more information on Youth In Philanthropy contact Dee Koch, director of community engagement for The George Foundation, at 281-342-6109 or dkoch@thegeorgefoundation.org.

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