Bellwood Scholarship Program Still Helping Students After 30 Years

Saturday, October 13, 2018 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews 

During a regular board meeting on Sept. 19, a Bellwood trustee read a letter from Chanel Brown, who graduated from Missouri Baptist University in the spring.

“Thank you for the four years of financial support you’ve given me,” Brown wrote. “May God continue to bless this organization.”

Brown is just one of the many Bellwood residents who have been helped by the Bellwood Neighborhood Watch’s scholarship program.

Since 1992, Neighborhood Watch has given away thousands of dollars in scholarships to Bellwood undergraduate college students who maintain good grades and are willing to do good for their community. The students get $500 per semester, which is used to help cover the costs of their college expenses.

“I’ve been on that board since 1993, and we only had one kid who didn’t finish [college],” said Bellwood Trustee M.C. Robinson of the scholarship recipients. “I [will] do this until I can’t do it no more, because if we don’t help them, who will? We want to help them go in the right direction.”

Robinson is part of the five-member scholarship board, which also include Bellwood Treasurer Keshia Anderson and residents Karen Thompson, Nicole Allen and Jocelyn Gougisha. The scholarships are funded entirely by donations.

Anderson estimated that about 90 percent of those donations come from local businesses while the rest comes from residents. She said that the scholarship program is always looking for donations.

The scholarships are open to high school students and undergraduate college students who live in Bellwood who have been accepted to a 2-year or 4-year college or university.

Interested students must fill out an application, write an essay talking about what they did to impact the community they live in and show some proof that they’ve done some kind of community service.

Anderson said that, so long as it’s something that benefits the community, the board doesn’t have any particular restrictions on what the service is or how long the applicant did it. The applicants must also get at least three people to fill out recommender forms available on the village website.  The application must be submitted no later than 12:01 a.m. on April 15.

Scholarship recipients can reapply for the next four years. Anderson said that as long as they show a copy of a transcript and maintain a GPA of no lower than 2.5, they will keep getting the money.

The scholarship can be used for any school-related expenses, including buying textbooks and supplies. For more information about the scholarship program, as well as to download the required forms, visit: https://www.vil.bellwood.il.us/residents/computer-resource-center/. VFP 

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