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Green Mountain Memories Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Aug 1, 2023
Winners Announced
Sep 1, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Mental health, counseling, substance abuse help, addiction work, and related fields

53 million people ages 12 years and older have used illegal drugs in the past year.

Drug abuse has become one of the largest problems facing the nation, as more and more people resort to substances. Since this issue has impacted so many people, it requires a large force of people to combat the effects. People in positions like counselors, mental health professionals, and other careers fighting substance abuse are able to make a difference by helping those afflicted by addiction and substance abuse. The Green Mountain Memories Scholarship will honor the memory of Mark Forgette, a substance abuse counselor and help support a student who is pursuing a career in helping those who struggle with substance abuse.

Undergraduate students studying to become professionals in the fields of mental health, addiction, substance abuse help, and other related fields are eligible to apply. In your application, write about what motivated you to pursue a career in a substance abuse-related profession.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published May 31, 2023
Essay Topic

What motivated you to pursue work in the field of substance abuse?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Olivia Shonio
University of Cincinnati-Main CampusWilliamstown, VT
I learned from a very early age that I would likely have a predisposition to easily developing addictions. Growing up in a family where substance use was pretty normalized, it was not until I got older I realized that was not a universal experience. Many members of my immediate family were cigarette smokers, and those who weren’t smokers were drinkers. It was not until I was about 13 or 14 years old that it really hit me how badly substance use and abuse can affect a person’s life. A family member very close to me made some very poor decisions that put him in a lose-lose situation. It’s the middle of the night and my mom gets a phone call. My eight-year-old brother is sitting in a police station an hour away by himself waiting to be picked up by a parent or guardian. Now I’m sure you are wondering, “Why is he an hour away at a police station by himself? How did he get there?”, and those are both great questions. Our uncle has battled addiction on and off for my entire life. There have been points where he has gotten sober and stayed that way for a bit, but it typically does not last long. During a period of time when he was sober, my brother asked to spend a Saturday night with him. My mom agreed, and we made the hour-long drive down to where he lived to drop off my little brother. The plan was for them to see a movie, and after that they would go back to our uncle’s apartment and my mom would pick up my brother the next morning. It seemed like a solid plan and my mom was assured there was little room for error. What happens next was far worse than anyone could have planned for. Next thing I know my mom is waking me up saying she needs to go get my brother. I was confused, but agreed. Within the next few hours we learned the whole story. Our uncle had left during the middle of the movie, went to the restroom, and never came back to the theater. When the movie was over and everyone was leaving the theater, my eight-year-old brother starts walking out with them, frantically looking for the adult he had come with. When my uncle was nowhere to be found, my brother sought out the help of an employee. This employee thankfully called the police and let them take over. Our uncle was found in the restroom, unconscious, needle still in his arm. He was arrested immediately on charges of possession of an illegal substance and child endangerment, as well as a slew of other things. For a few years after this my brother was terrified to go anywhere without my mom, and he refused to see our uncle even after he had been released from jail. Watching the way drug use affected not only my uncle, but also had such a negative ripple effect on my little brother, was the first instance that really solidified that I wanted to work in substance abuse counseling. Since then, I’ve felt that if I could make a difference for even one family, or prevent a child from going through the same trauma my brother did, then I would feel I’ve found my calling.
Madison Moore
Campbellsville UniversityDanville, KY
What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question that I was struggling with throughout high school. I knew I wanted to have a career that would truly make a difference and impact in the lives of others. I thought about nursing, teaching, and physical therapy. Then I looked at my mother, who is an LCSW and knew that social work was the obvious career choice for me. Like Cara, who was able to see the passion her dad had for making a difference for others, I have been able to personally witness this with my mom during her almost 20-year career. She has worked in many different roles with many different concerns such as hospice, long-term care, developmental disabilities, dialysis, and behavioral health therapy. I have seen the financial struggles that my mom had as a single mom with a social worker's salary, however, my mom has never regretted her career choice and has always stressed to me the reward in seeing the difference she is making is far greater than any financial wealth. My goal is to specifically provide behavioral health support for children. The need for behavioral health services is so great for children, however, there is also a huge demand for more helping professionals. There are not enough mental health professionals to meet the need. And this need is increasing exponentially every day with the ever-increasing stress and pressures on today's youth. When I walked onto the campus of Campbellsville University, I saw many signs that stated, "Find Your Calling at Campbellsville." I truly believe Social Work is a calling and more importantly is my calling. It sounds like Mr. Mark Forgette found his calling and made a huge impact in the lives of others because of his passion for that calling. I hope to also make that impact, even for just one person. I think of the difference potentially saving the life of one child from substance use could make. One person might not seem like much to some, but to others it is everything. Why am I motivated to pursue a career in substance abuse? I am motivated to pursue this career because of the love, passion and sacrifice of people like Mark and my mother and because I think even helping one person recover is reason enough. I truly want to be an instrument of change in the world of behavioral health and substance abuse.
Emily Tabor
University of KentuckyLockport, IL
I was 14 years young when my 26 year old cousin overdosed on heroin that was laced with fentanyl. At that time my cousin had been clean for almost two years. His life from the outside looking in looked bright and hopeful. He had an amazing job, he was expecting his first child and he had an overall positive outlook on life. (So we all thought). Jake was introduced to heroin around the age of 16. He was at a party and he thought what he was being given was something a lot less addictive than heroin. He was wrong, he had been given heroin and from that point forward, his life went down a path of a downward spiral. In 8th grade, I myself went through a traumatic experience. It wasn’t a substance abuse experience, but a sexual assault. I knew then that helping kids and teens, whether it be due to substance abuse, sexual assault or a mental health illness, it is what I want to pursue in my life. Less than 6 months ago, I lost another cousin to substance abuse. Tony was only a senior in high school. Just like Jake, he too came from a good family with an amazing support system. But as with Jake, Tony also had his own personal demons. Tony started taking all sorts of prescription pills at a younger age than Jake. I was closer to Tony because Tony and I are (were) the same age. Tony also became clean for awhile, until his temptations for prescription medications became to strong of a urge. Tony also passed away from a drug overdose. Losing two cousins who were young and full of life, so we all thought, put this determination in me. If I can help or save one more teen from losing their life due to substance abuse, I was going to do it. My motivation to pursue a career in substance abuse is very personal. Personal experiences that I have witnessed and the grief that my family now has to live with is what is driving me to become a teen social worker/counselor. I know that I will be successful in my chosen college and career path. I have two people looking down from above driving me to do so. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay and if I am fortunate enough to receive the Green Mountain Memories Scholarship I will be so grateful! I will not only make my cousins, Jake and Tony proud but I will make Mark Forgette proud too! Kind Regards, Emily Tabor


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on Sep 1, 2023.

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