For DonorsFor Applicants

Jake Thomas Williams Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$2,000
Application Deadline
Aug 12, 2024
Winners Announced
Sep 12, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
Majors of Interest:
Social work, therapy, or psychology
Career Field of Interest:
Mental health or suicide prevention

Jake Thomas Williams passed away too soon after taking his own life in 2020. 

Mental health services and suicide prevention are vital fields that can save thousands of lives every year. Around 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience serious mental illness. Mental health struggles can start early, making suicide the 2nd-highest cause of death among Americans between the ages of 10-34.

This scholarship seeks to honor Jake Thomas Williams’ life by providing support to students who want to make a difference in mental health and suicide prevention. 

Any high school senior interested in studying social work, therapy, or psychology and hoping to work in mental health or suicide prevention may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about your experience with loss, your inspiration for pursuing mental health, your career goals, and how you think you’ll make a difference in suicide prevention.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published May 10, 2024
Essay Topic

Please share your personal experience with loss and how that has inspired you to enter the mental health field. How has your experience shaped your career aspirations? How do you feel you can make a difference in suicide prevention?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Jaylen Adams
Olympic High SchoolCharlotte, NC
I saw suicide for the first time in a children's film. Married superheroes Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl were living mundane lives after the United States government banned super-powered activities. In the first twenty minutes, Mr. Incredible is in his prime. After some meaningful flirting with his eventual wife, he notices a man plummeting from a building. With a single, super strength-powered leap, he catches the man mid-air, crashing into a window and preventing what could have been a disaster. The scene cuts to several weeks later when Mr. Incredible is in court, facing the very man he rescued. Oliver Sansweet had sued one of the most famous superheroes in the world. Why? He did not want to be saved. At seven years old, I learned that some people would prefer to write their obituary themselves. In the seventh grade, my classmate wrote one, loaded a gun, and pulled the trigger. In the following week, Southwest Middle School hosted more seminars, assembly meetings, and counselor sessions than they had all year. In the week after that, they took down all of the suicide awareness posters they had put up earlier. They took down the 'in loving memory' banner soon after the Class of 2022 was promoted. "All of this bullying and burden will make you stronger," the administration used to preach. But Meisha needed to be safe, not stronger. Sometimes, suffering is just suffering. It doesn't build character or toughen your skin. It only hurts. The mental health of American adolescents has been declining for decades. Some people are sad young. There isn't always a particular reason. They bruise more easily, cry harder, and tire faster. And society has left them behind. I know because I am one of them. I pretend to be a cynic, but I am a dreamer who is terrified of wanting something I may never get. I starve myself with the yearning for an intimacy that does not and will not exist. I work myself to the bone to obtain an impossible standard of perfection. For a while, everything ached. Then a voice told me I have to do something other than hurt. I saw the grief suicide could give birth to, and I couldn't stomach the thought of my mother bearing it. It took time and work, but I learned time management, coping mechanisms, and personal healing. I am angry that I starved and shivered at night instead of dancing and reading poetry, but I want to make sure no one repeats my mistake. I want to make sure no one's parents ever have to grieve the death of the children, especially at their own hands. Because of this, I want to start my nonprofit dedicated to addressing the rising suicide rates in students. I want to register with the IRS underneath the name 'Warriors for Wellness.' Our Wellness Warriors will be devoted to learning coping mechanisms for financial, academic, and personal stress. We are committed to fostering an intimate community. We aim to be responsible for promoting mindfulness throughout the school district. Through our support and community, students will learn the management of their mental health instead of shame. I have already completed several courses on the fundamentals of starting a nonprofit. My dream is to create the Meisha Scholarship, a scholarship not based on academic merit but an essay describing the struggles you have faced with your mental health and how you have overcome them. Although I didn't have the super-strength to save Meisha, I believe I can make a difference starting now.
Anmol Bhatia
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyGreen Brook Township, NJ


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 12, 2024. Winners will be announced on Sep 12, 2024.