High School Social Leaders Bi-Annual Scholarship

Funded by
Dror Liebenthal
Learn more about the Donor
1 winner every 6 months
Next Application Deadline
Mar 31, 2020
Next Winners Announced
Jun 5, 2020
Education Level
High School
Eligibility Requirements
United States
Current High School Student
United States
Current High School Student

Making an impact on the global and social challenges that we face today is difficult work.

Although we live longer, have a higher quality of life, and see more rapid social and technological change than ever before, these days the issues we face are still massive in scale.

They will require the focus of many areas of expertise, from the rapidly deteriorating state of our environment, to widening wealth inequality, racial injustice, the student and medical debt crises, and more.

We need bold, innovative new strategies and organizations that are effective in their approach and inspiring in their execution. We need movements that bring fresh perspectives and disruptive solutions to difficult questions.

Above all, we need leaders with vision, purpose, and talent—our best and brightest—to commit and be incentivized to take on our most pressing challenges.

We need our best and brightest to take on our most pressing challenges.

The High School Social Leaders Bi-Annual Scholarship will award $1,000 every 6 months to students who are focused on solving critical social issues either in their communities or at a global scale.

The scholarship is open to any high school students who plan on pursuing higher education.

To apply, students must be actively involved in organizations working to solve key social issues that we face today.

The scholarship is not restricted to a particular issue or type of organization. Students may be working locally or globally, and may be working independently, with a non-profit, or with a for-profit.

Preference will be given to students who are pursuing new or innovative approaches to a particular issue, with a focus on why they believe their approach makes most sense for the issue they’re working to solve.

Impact will also be factored in when reviewing student applications. This means both the potential impact of the student’s mission in their work, and the potential impact that winning the scholarship would have on their ability to realize their mission.

Social Issues
Selection Criteria:
Leadership, Strategy of approach, Social problem, Impact
Essay Topic

How are you working to address an important social issue? Why are you passionate about this issue? How are you or the organization you’re part of innovative in its approach to the issue? Why do you believe your strategy is best suited to solve the problem?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Nadia La Mar
Wellesley CollegeWest Orange, NJ
My first awakening to the criminal justice system occurred while attending the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute held at Princeton University. We held many discussions surrounding racial injustices in the world, and specifically we read and analyzed Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow”, which focused on the injustices Black people face in the criminal justice system. Black men and women are the most at risk out of all races to be incarcerated (The Sentencing Project). This problem stems from the tense relationship between the Black community and police, having roots in slavery and Nixon’s “War on Drugs” in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The effects of these events are still seen today, with the School-to-Prison pipeline being another reason why Black people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. With Black students being 3.5 times more likely than their white counterparts to be suspended or expelled, there is a theme in our K-12 educational system that sees Black kids as misbehaving when they are most likely reacting in response to their surroundings (Elias, 2013). This leads to poorer academic performance and a higher risk of being in prison. Children of Promise, NYC, or CPNYC, is an organization based in Brooklyn, New York which I have been volunteering with for years. It is one of the few organizations in the country dedicated to the needs of the forgotten victims, or children, of incarcerated parents. This organization provides afterschool tutoring during the school year along with a camp over the summer. In addition, mental health professionals host sessions with the children one-on-one to openly discuss how they’re feeling in addition to any issues they may be having. This is one effective way to target the issue of mass incarceration. Stopping the cycle with the youth will hopefully end the cycle entirely. Giving people outlets to express their emotions instead of turning to violence has also been proven effective in improving wellbeing as well as the academic performance of students. Moreover, de-profitizing and deprivatizing prisons will allow Black people to be seen as humans and not dollar signs. This can be done via legislation in government and an entire change of the prison system. The issue is that a profit is made based on more people being in prison, and governments are often allied with these prisons. Additionally, public prisons also thrive off of having more prisoners, not just private ones. This means that the system needs to be socially and economically flipped in that only people who have committed serious crimes end up in jail, not people of color and people in poverty. Finally, the journey itself from arrest to prison needs to be revamped because it is perpetuating these issues. Needing to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for bail, being given a free defense lawyer who isn’t ready to properly defend you, implicit bias in the courtroom,....these are all reasons why there is a severe overrepresentation of marginalized groups in prison. CPNYC is doing important work in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration within communities. Besides the statistical effects of incarceration, there is a potent stigma against those in prison and their loved ones. With a book I created, You Are Loved (available via Storybird), I am destigmatizing families affected by incarceration. This leads to empowerment as well as inspiration for those affected by incarceration to work hard to achieve their goals despite their setbacks. My book is also a call to action for those, specifically children, impacted by incarceration. In the book, I write that it is okay to feel sad about missing your parent(s) because they are away. Families should be encouraged to share their emotions and have healthy coping mechanisms, which CPNYC also promotes in having mental health therapists available for the children in the program. Those impacted by incarceration should know that they are loved, just like the title of my book. I first plan on making another trip to CPNYC to see how the book is being received by the kids and families there and if they have any feedback. Based on that, I would possibly send a book to CPNYC’s upcoming additional location in the South Bronx. I have been and may continue to send copies to other nonprofits as well. If my book is gaining attention among the nonprofits, I may start selling copies to individuals and donating the proceeds to organizations supporting families affected by the criminal justice system and fighting against its injustices. Sources: - https://www.sentencingproject.org/criminal-justice-facts/ - https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/spring-2013/the-school-to-prison-pipeline


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 31, 2020. Winners will be announced on Jun 5, 2020.

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