For DonorsFor Applicants

Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
May 13, 2023
Winners Announced
Jun 13, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school or undergraduate student

Andrew Perez was a beloved son who passed away too soon due to suicide and mental illness.

Andrew enjoyed being active outdoors and used biking, basketball, and skateboarding to cope with stress. Although Andrew eventually lost his battle with his mental health, he would have wanted to help others overcome their own struggles with mental illness. 

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Andrew Perez by helping students push through their mental illnesses and pursue their education. 

Any BIPOC high school or undergraduate student who struggles with mental health may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about your passions and coping mechanisms as well as your goals for the future.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 13, 2023
Essay Topic

​​Please tell us about your passions and how you cope with your mental illness. What are some of your goals and aspirations for your future?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

May 2022

Axton Brown
Miguel Cuevas
Kadin McElwain
Martha Daughtrey
Maria Fernanda Garcia Sanchez
Kaia Perez
Jess Imme
To'nyia Richardson
Yessenia Perez Garcia
Anthony Hooker
Carlie Griffith
Chukwuemeka\ Obizuo
Stephon Boodoo
Cortaveon Martin
Maniyah Surrell
Sage Fast Dog Jr.
Pamela Enriquez
jessica koyner
Keely Franco
Morgan Mitchell
Esther Gonzalez
Trishana Maharaj
Karthikeyan Malmurugan
Madeline Lopez-Elwell
Nizar Mouradi
Kehinde Ejio
harley brewer
Shereen Shahid
Heather Schlinker
Melissa Salinas
Sarah Omoyugbo
Taytum Camacho
Alin Joseph
Chyna Simmons
Jesse Pleytez
Julia Long
malik belle
Maribel Aguirre
Slywenda Geeston
Michael Phillips
Alaytha Perez
Caleb Garcia
Samantha Salinas
William Torres
Noah Sylvia
Lisset Muñoz
Naindii King
Karolla Galindo
Lauren Bernstein
Parker Jakel
Jesus Martinez
Kate Kennelly
Donald Day
Justice Morris
A. Camille Egnor
Amyali Castro
sydnie smith
Maria Hendren
Ching Li

Winning Application

Kaelyn Norwood
University of the PacificLos Angeles, CA
In high school and early college, major depression with suicidal tendencies and anxiety ruled my life. It determined my moods, my thoughts, my interactions and my inability to interact with others. I feared that I would be lost in the dread of self-deprecation forever. Throughout that immensely difficult time in my life, I clung to rhythmic-based art as a form of therapy and self-recognition. I knew I was dealing with mental illness and with no one to confide in I was forced to validate and encourage myself through the tearful and self-harm-filled nights. I did my best to write one song about how I felt a day, if not a song, then a poem, if not a poem, then a dance. I breathed all the life I had in my body at the time into the art I made. It made me feel purposeful, that one day I would share it. Through the years I've been fortunate to add new skills to my therapeutic repertoire. These include talk therapy, consistent self-care practices like contemplative prayer and fitness classes, and seeking out a community that I feel safe talking to and consider my chosen family. I also spend time reading novels and works by other Black Women who have struggled and fought to overcome mental health barriers. All of these tools have aided me in becoming a depression-fighting machine and paired with mind-reprogramming strategies like affirmations I've been effective and consistent with my mood stabilization without the use of pharmaceuticals. Through these mental health practices, I found my greatest passion, advocacy. I've learned over the years as I've read, studied, and shared experiences with others that I am not alone in this fight against mental health, although many times I felt like it. Through my life, I want to show others that self-determination and using those few moments you do feel good make a longer-lasting impact than the bad days. I advocate through my research as I am currently working on a dissertation titled "Holistic Wellness as a Profitability Metric For Black Women Artists." I advocate through my service in giving back to communities in need of mental health resources and sourcing funding to support those resources. I advocate through peer support groups in helping my schoolmates find solace and clarity in the intense confusion of emerging adulthood. I still go to therapy weekly and unpack childhood trauma. I still go to yoga and pilates weekly as means of staying active and increasing my feel-good hormones. I still practice contemplative prayer daily to center and ground myself in between tasks so I don't get overwhelmed and burn out. Tools are not a quick fix to optimal wellness, but when used on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis can be encouraging to individuals who struggle with finding a reason to live. For the rest of my life, I want to center my artistic, entrepreneurial, and educational efforts around helping people feel in healthy ways. I want to support others on their journey to wellness by providing comforting and relatable music, jobs with mental health and wellness benefits and furthering the research on holistic wellness as a societal norm for healthy and wealthy people. This work doesn't begin with me but I would be amiss if I didn't contribute.
Yaniris Garcia
University of South Florida-Sarasota-ManateeBradenton, FL
For some people, the most difficult thing they have done is running a marathon, finishing college, or raising a family but for me, it was staring into my parent's eyes and confessing that since the age of eleven I had been struggling with depression. How do you tell the humans who love you the most and brought you onto Earth that you don't want to live anymore? What I feared was my parent's lack of knowledge of mental health causing them to ignore my feelings or even worse to "prescribe" me a dose of prayers instead of taking my illness seriously. The words were almost trapped in the back of my throat and for months I had put off this conversation. I thought of all the sacrifices my family had made for me by immigrating to America and being the first in my family to attend college. My grandmother passed away with only a first-grade education and she never got the chance to learn how to read and write. The guilt was almost impossible to swallow. My advice as a depression veteran is to speak up to anyone and everyone who will listen about your mental health. I do this with my own circle of family and friends but also through my youtube channel where I make videos on college advice and how I handle my own depression with a busy course load. Take the first baby step and talk about your mental illness because that's one of the best things you can do. Tell your parents and family how your symptoms affect you, how you feel, and most importantly how they can support you. Some people might not entirely understand you or even make hurtful comments, find the people in your life who can support you and ignore the rest. I also fight my depression by trying to spend time in nature for at least 15 minutes daily. This small but mighty habit helps to keep me distracted from dark thoughts, provides me with much-needed sunlight, and grounds me with the beauty of nature. Doctors will tell you to exercise daily and eat a healthy diet but when even brushing your teeth is a hurdle exercising can feel too overwhelming, instead try stretching in bed and celebrate your tiny accomplishments, treat yourself like your best friend would. Forgive yourself for what you could not accomplish. Through encouragement from my family I dared to reach out to a therapist and ask for help, statistics show that a person can suffer from depression for ten years before they ever seek professional help. By the time I was able to see a therapist covered by my insurance it had been over 6 months from the peak of my mental health crisis, for those going through a crisis 6 months is entirely too long to receive help.' My dream is to finish my bachelor's degree so I can continue my education and serve others struggling with mental illnesses as a clinical psychologist by opening up my own community-based behavioral health center. I would love to be able to take my suffering and use my bilingual skills to provide support for impoverished and underrepresented communities. Mental health is just as valid as any other illness and it's time we took it seriously and reinvented how we manage behavioral healthcare.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 13, 2023. Winners will be announced on Jun 13, 2023.

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