SAN FRANCISCO (January 19, 2022) – Today, the NBA Stars and founders of Social Change Fund United, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, announce the two winners of the $10,000 Social Change Fund United Scholarship. The scholarship was created in May 2021 on Bold.org — the largest independent scholarship platform in the country — to support Black students pursuing careers in the mental health field. Out of thousands of applicants, Kervin Isaac from Naples, Florida and Michaela Dennie from Gary, Indiana were selected as the winners. Both Kervin and Michaela wrote powerful essays about mental health and will receive $5,000 each to pursue a mental health profession.
Chris Paul stated during mental health awareness month in May: “On behalf of my brothers, Dwyane and Carmelo, we are excited to partner with Bold.org to offer two scholarships for Black students aspiring to be mental health professionals in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. We need more professionals in this space that look like us in order to continue to break the stigmas around mental health in the Black community. Through the work that Social Change Fund United does, we are committed to contributing to changing the narrative.”
For Kervin Isaac, winning the scholarship means he can now complete his term at the University of North Florida. Kervin will also be able to finish his practicum at Jacksonville University as a Mental Health Counseling Intern providing care to the BIPOC community. The scholarship will help support his dream of eventually becoming a therapist with his own private practice. Kervin has also worked at the Department of Children and Families for the Abuse Hotline where he has helped support countless children handling traumatic situations. This work, along with his personal experiences, has made him even more passionate about increasing mental health representation within the Black community. Kervin has witnessed others neglecting their mental health struggles, and he hopes to be the change that breaks this cycle of ignoring mental crises.
Scholarship recipient Kervin Isaac (Naples, FL) says: “I'm grateful to Social Change Fund United for their efforts in trying to end systematic barriers to Mental Health Care. In Fall of 2021, I started practicum as a Mental Health Counseling Intern at Jacksonville University helping many BIPOC deal with their struggles. I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to complete my Summer 2022 term due to lack of funding. I saw Bold.org on TikTok and felt it was worth a shot. I never expected to find a scholarship that so perfectly described what I wanted to be part of, and for this, I thank both Bold and Social Change Fund United. I would have never been able to complete my year without this scholarship.”
The scholarship couldn’t have come at a more critical time for Michaela Dennie. Recently, Michaela’s sole guardian was incarcerated, leaving her with mountains of debt and exhausting her loan options. As an aspiring clinical psychologist and social worker, the scholarship will help her create positive change across the foster care system and urban communities. Michaela’s professional goals are inspired by her personal experiences. While growing up, she endured trauma, witnessed mental illnesses through family members and experienced the state of health care in urban communities and foster care. In her winning essay, Michaela wrote about the importance of destigmatizing mental health struggles within the Black community, boosting diversity in mental health clinics and making therapy and other forms of mental care more affordable and accessible.
Scholarship recipient Michaela Dennie (Gary, IN) says: “The Social Change Fund United Scholarship has been one of the greatest contributions to my academic career. With the loss of financial support through my recently incarcerated and sole legal guardian, I was unsure if I would be able to go another semester without exhausting my loan options and ultimately drowning in debt. However, it is with this scholarship that I have reached the goal of paying my tuition in full and will be able to continue my higher education without financial strain or worry. This contribution to my academic career pushes me one step closer to becoming a first generation college student and obtaining my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.”
In addition, Social Change Fund United is stewarded by its Executive Council members, which include Candace Parker, CJ McCollum, Khris Middleton and Natasha Cloud who have utilized their global platforms to speak out against social injustice. The organization joins a robust list of public figures who make a point of supporting education on Bold.org. Previous Bold.org scholarship sponsors include professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, producer and DJ 3LAU, NFL players JuJu Smith-Schuster and Brandon Zylstra, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, professional MMA fighter Cat Zingano, actor Terry Crews, singer songwriter Clairo, actress Jameela Jamil and more.