For DonorsFor Applicants

Tim Watabe Doing Hard Things Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Joleene Watabe
6 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Feb 15, 2023
Winners Announced
Mar 13, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High School Seniors, Undergraduate and Graduate

Time Watabe is remembered as a caring individual who left a great impact on his community. Watabe always used his resources to help young men embark on difficult journeys. He motivated many in their pursuit of accomplishing the utmost success. His contribution brought immense positivity into the world. 

This scholarship aims to honor the life of Tim Watabe by supporting students who have overcome their own hardships, and now intend to make the world a better place. 

The ideal applicant resides in either California, Ohio, or Utah. High School seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students from any of these three states are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

To apply, please tell us about the hardships in your life and the steps you took to move forward. Additionally, how has learning to face hard things impacted your relationships? 

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published October 21, 2022
Essay Topic

Please tell us about the hardships in your life and steps you took to move forward. Additionally, how has learning to face hard things impacted your relationships?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Hannah Haroldsen
Floyd B Buchanan High SchoolFresno, CA
Cloudy skies, roaring thunder, and surging rain are all signs of a storm. These signs can be physically seen before the storm occurs, which warns everyone in the area what's about to happen. Unfortunately, hardships don't work the same way. Without any warning, our world can be flipped upside down in the blink of an eye. I grew up in a loving home, always surrounded by close family and friends. I had everything I could've ever wanted. When I was eight years old, my parents started fighting and I didn't know why. My dad packed up his bags and left suddenly to move away from us. Back then, I had never even heard of the word people call divorce. The divorce wasn't what crushed me to pieces was having to listen to all my friends talk about their amazing father-daughter dates every weekend. It was having to sing in church on Father's Day Sunday when I was the only kid in the entire primary who didn't have a dad to sing to. It was all the father-daughter dances at school that I had to tag along with my cousin and her dad to try and fit in with the crowd. At the beginning of this journey with divorced parents, my younger brothers and I would switch between houses pretty regularly. After dealing with physical and emotional abuse from my dad, I decided to take a step back from him at the age of ten. Shortly after, my dad moved to Florida. He began sending my mom these hateful texts about all the things she was doing wrong in parenting my brothers and me. I had read one of the texts he sent in which he told my mom that she wasn't feeding us healthy enough because we were too overweight. I didn't realize that this wasn't true at all back then, but his comment went straight to my head. I had developed an eating disorder called bulimia in which I would force myself to throw up my meals so I could lose weight. When I wasn't busy throwing up, I was starving myself. I was so persistent in proving my dad wrong that this eating disorder overtook my life for five years. I was trapped in an endless loop of trying to be skinny enough for my dad's approval. I resented my dad for all the pain he caused me, however, my brothers adored him. This difference between us drove a huge wedge in my relationship with my brothers. I had lost my dad, and my brothers weren't far behind. It was at this moment that I had the realization that this wasn't worth losing them to. I searched for what felt like years, trying to find an answer to heal my aching heart. While I had been reading my patriarchal blessing one night, I noticed it said, “overcome trials by losing yourself in service.” This caused me to start looking at my dad leaving as an opportunity for me to take on more responsibilities in my family. As I did this, I saw the burdens being lifted off my mom's shoulders as she'd come home from a long day of working and the housework would already be completed. Learning to do hard things has allowed me to help make the lives of others so much easier. Because of this, my relationships have been strengthened and bonds have grown closer. Discovering the joy in hardships has not only helped those around me but myself as well. These lessons have created a more Christ-centered version of myself.
Lauren Osada
Concordia University-IrvineSan Diego, CA
Like most people, I’ve experienced my fair share of hardship. I was raised in a dysfunctional family by a wonderful mother who fiercely loved me, and an emotionally and verbally abusive father. From a very young age, I knew that things were not “normal” and the dynamic of my family was different. In middle school, my mother experienced depression in the sense that it dimmed her life force, her spirit, to barely a flicker. I remember being so terrified that I was going to lose her, only to years later have her take her own life. My biggest fear lurked in the unspoken truths and normalization of dysfunction. Through this incredibly tragic death, I found my way to a different life. I knew that I did not have the ability to cope with my mom’s death on my own. I sought out a therapist to begin working through my grief and heartbreak. While my grief was the main topic for some time, I began to delve into my past and truly into myself. I learned that I am a feeling being and those feelings are big and allowed to take up space. I learned how to be human and most important, how to trust and advocate for myself. I do not hesitate to say that therapy has been transformative for me. Since I’ve started on my healing journey, my approach to life has shifted and so have my relationships. I am more aware of how everyone is carrying hurt, pain, and grief. Mostly, I am aware that a lot of people are living on autopilot. I’ve noticed how disconnected people are, unless they are doing inner healing work, or learned to be emotionally present while growing up. This observation has made me more empathetic and an advocate for therapy and healing work. Our society makes us believe we have to do things ourselves, when really, we have a need to be in kind and loving relationships with others. If you asked my dear friends or my partner how I am different since my mother’s death, they would likely laugh and say “very.” My commitment to growth and healing has impacted every relationship I am part of. Because I believe so strongly in doing the work, I have grown apart from certain relationships and strengthened others. Most importantly, I have become a better friend and partner because I am able to show up authentically. I am better able to listen without offering solutions. I am able to set boundaries and be kind and clear. While my mother’s death will forever cause me grief, it is also the most beautiful tragedy I’ve experienced. I have found a wonderful support system and learned how to be human. I have strengthened relationships with those I love and learned to trust myself in the process. I am so thankful for the love of my mother and I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to heal and express that love in my life.
Andrea Rackley
University of RedlandsREDLANDS, CA
Having spent my entire high school career in foster care has been one of the most difficult hardships I've ever faced. Since the end of 8th grade, when I first entered foster care, I have attended 6 different schools. I was constantly moving around, having to learn new rules, and learning to live with new people. My life felt like a fragile, unstable tower of broken blocks that with one gentle breeze would topple over. Slowly, I've learned to flow with these constant changes and do my best despite my challenges. From nearly failing my sophomore year, I now have straight A's. This is because I learned to ground myself wherever I was, and despite knowing I may only be there for a month, attempting to get involved as best I can. I feel that people often forget just how important social interaction and feeling wanted is in our daily lives. Being in foster care makes this especially difficult, moving from place to place and always being "the new kid". In my first 2 years of both high school and foster care, the only activity I participated in was theatre, and this was cut short by the pandemic. During Covid-19, I moved again and was left almost completely alone until junior year. When school started back up, in person this time, I joined clubs and gained leadership positions in some of them, I embedded myself in our campus culture and was much happier. Despite moving to yet another high school for my senior year, I have still joined many clubs and hold executive positions for many of them. Foster care is not a hardship one can overcome, but rather one that someone has to learn to live with. Despite fostercare I've learned to thrive and live life to the fullest. From my experiences I've learned to hold on to things I hold dear and let people know how much they mean to me because I know and understand how quickly life can change. I've learned that things can change in an instant and I don't want to be left wishing I had told someone something, wishing I had apologized, wishing I had hung out more with someone. The impact in my relationships is that I tell people what I truly think, tell my friends how much I appreciate them, try to hang out as much as I can, and spend what little time together we have, to the fullest.
Elizabeth Rawlings
Orem High SchoolOrem, UT
One of the hardest challenges in my life was when I was in a serious boating accident during my freshman year of High school. A tube rope was wrapped around my leg and yanked me from the boat. Miraculously the rope released my leg and I was wearing my lifejacket. Despite the miracles that took place that day, my life was still changed. For a long time, I could only see the negative effects of my accident but now I can see how it has changed me for the better. After my accident, I was not able to walk for a month. The rope burns on my leg would stick to the bandages and sting to the touch. I would get severe migraines because my body was trying to heal. The hardest part was trying to fake being fine. I am a very active person and play soccer every day. Being stuck in severe pain and not being able to play was very difficult. My depression got to the point where I could not even fake a smile. For a long time, I could only focus on how unfair this accident was. Even to this day, I have nerve damage in my calf. But later on, I realized the positive effect that even such a horrible accident could have. Shortly after I was coming back from my accident I realized that I was behind in soccer, and my motivation was low. I often thought of how unfair my accident was. Finally, I found the courage to continue forward, I started doing personal training to get back on track. Because of my accident, I created a work ethic greater than anyone on my team. Not only did I work harder physically but spiritually and mentally I finally found myself. Religion has always been a big part of my life. However, before my accident, I started going through the motions. I went to church with my family but wasn't fully there. I read scriptures but didn't take in what was being said. After my accident, I found a spiritual talk about the unfairness we experience. Because of my accident and this talk, I was able to come closer to my Savior and trust God to the fullest. My progress physically and spiritually helped me become a better person. Despite the hardships and struggles I faced, I was able to be there for friends and even strangers around me. I have a newfound mental strength and I know my worth more fully. Because of this knowledge, I can understand those struggling around me. I can feel the needs of strangers, friends, and family around me. I often have family and friends that lean on me and come to me when they are struggling. My accident was a blessing in disguise, and I can be stronger because of it.
Khaliya Woods
University of Akron Main CampusAkron, OH
As an African American, first-generation, homosexual woman, I have faced diversity in many ways. Growing up I had a rough childhood due to a previously absent father and a mother who was facing addiction. As a child, I moved around quite a bit and struggled to stay caught up in school. Despite being advanced in some classes due to natural intelligence, I struggled in other classes due to my absence from class and rough home life. I was bullied for having a drug addict mother, an absent father, and for being African American in a town that was primarily Caucasian. At a young age, I constantly heard rumors about not only my mother but my siblings and myself as well. I struggled to try to fit in and remain happy in such a complicated situation. I was placed into foster care when I was 9 years old and remained in foster care until my father gained custody when I was almost 12 years old. When I entered sixth grade, my sexuality seemed to be less certain, and I came out to my friends as bisexual. Later that same year, I began experiencing bullying that lasted until eighth grade. I was picked on for my sexuality and being a light-skinned biracial person. Once I entered high school, I came out to my friends as a lesbian and came out to my parents on Valentine's Day of 2021. I've surrounded myself with people who make me feel confident with my differences. People that taught me that the characteristics that define me, shouldn't be hidden but worn with pride. I've worked so incredibly hard to get to where I am. I joined my school's leadership cadre and LGBTQ club. The next year I became an officer of the LGBTQ club. I took summer classes to get ahead, so I only had 1-2 classes my senior year and had more time to work to save up for my car. Life was even more complicated due to not having a physical copy of my birth certificate, a social security card, or even an ID. I had to wait until I turned 18 to get my birth certificate by myself and then turn around and get my permit at the end of March 2022. Towards the beginning of May 2022, my step-grandpa started teaching me how to drive and I passed my driver's test within a couple of weeks and purchased my first used car by myself not too long later. A week later, I drove myself to my graduation where I got to represent the class of 2022 and gave a speech. Despite all the uncertainty and obstacles, I've had to face, I know that as long as I keep pressing forward and staying positive, I can get through it. I plan on using what I've learned from the obstacles I've faced to work harder and receive the education that younger me would have wanted us to get. I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher and later getting my certification in foster care. I also want to help spread awareness of addiction and how to get help because one of the hardest moments in life, is to watch your mother, whom you look up to, struggle with addiction. I also want to spread greater awareness of foster care along with so many other things. I believe my place in this world is to help children and their families who struggled like I did growing up and to show them that so much more is possible.
Laila Jones
Grand Canyon UniversityAnaheim, CA
Being a Black woman and a Latina in the US has never been easy, and will continue to be a struggle for many young women to come. Throughout my lifetime I have struggled with who I am. I attended a PWI for the majority of my adolescence. I was bullied and told that I was "ugly" or "dumb" based solely on the fact that I was one of few students of color. Over the past few years, I started the process of learning to love who I am as not only a woman of color but also an educated, beautiful, and worthy woman. I started by removing myself from the PWI and decided to switch to a more diverse public school. I started to embrace my biggest insecurity which was my beautiful 3C hair. I cut off all of my hair which was dead due to chemicals and continuous straightening. I embraced my hair now that it has grown back. I am learning to accept my Hispanic side as well. I have become more comfortable speaking Spanish and have become a more confident person because of this. I learned that we as people need to be kinder to others and that everyone struggles. I also learned that just because someone is different it does not make them valued less, or seen as not beautiful as they are. At school, I have now become a leader and am now the Vice president of my school's leadership team. I joined sports and became the captain of my volleyball team. I also started and joined clubs for students that were underrepresented on my campus. These students are my peers and I felt that they too should be seen and heard, so I revamped a club for students with special needs. I now have set my mind to creating a safe space for all students, and I remind the members of my club how they are valued and I encourage them to spread love to others no matter what. I also started a club to send encouragement to children with childhood cancer. I felt that this club was a beautiful way to show people we did not know that again they are loved, valued, and thought about constantly. This club has allowed me to become more caring and sympathetic, and I have seen an immense change in the way the students at my school treat those around them including their peers and teachers. My goal for my education is to become a teacher. I decided that by becoming a teacher I can create a space where students feel safe and loved in their learning environment no matter who they are. I also want to show other young women of color that higher education is attainable for them, and become a role model for young people no matter what they look like. Education has become such a huge part of my life, and I hope that by becoming a teacher I too can create a space where students feel excited and motivated to learn. I believe that allowing people to learn and grow while also feeling loved will create a society of loving and accepting people.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Feb 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on Mar 13, 2023.

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