For DonorsFor Applicants

LA Kids for Change Scholarship

2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
May 26, 2022
Winners Announced
Jun 25, 2022
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school juniors, seniors, or first-year undergraduates
In or recently out of the foster care system

All students should have an equal playing field when it comes to pursuing higher education.

Unfortunately, students in the foster care system are often at a disadvantage when they begin applying to colleges. A lack of financial resources and mentors can make it difficult for foster students to navigate college applications and financial aid.

This scholarship seeks to support students who have experienced the foster care system on their journey to higher education.

Any high school juniors and seniors or first-year undergraduate students who are in or just out of the foster care system may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us how your experience in foster care has shaped your views on college and how you hope to give back to the foster care system in the future.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published January 28, 2022
Essay Topic

How did your experience in foster care shape your views on higher education, and how do you plan on giving back to the foster care system in the future?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Gamaliel Pitkapaasi
Plymouth-Whitemarsh ShsPlymouth Meeting, PA
My name is Gamaliel Pitkapaasi and I am an eighteen year old former foster child. I have had to overcome many adversities throughout my whole life. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I have had to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even though I have these disabilities and experiences, I have never let them get in the way of what I wanted to accomplish. I’ve done well in school for my whole school career. When I was young, because of my disabilities, my school districts assumed that I needed to be in special classrooms. I had to prove to them that I was just as smart as my typical peers. I became the first disabled person to wrestle for my middle school and for my high school. Almost every year since then I have won an Honors Award for high academics – all As and Bs. I’ve had to deal with mental health my whole life. I had to go through the foster care system multiple times. I want to help people that are going through similar trauma issues. I really like the high school Sociology class I took. That got me even more interested in Psychology than I already was. I want to work in the area of Trauma Psychology. I’d like to work for one of the veterans’ hospitals and I would like to be there for abused children. I think I’ll be good at it because I can understand where they’re coming from, unlike a person that hasn’t gone through that type of trauma. I also would like to work in Forensics, figuring out if people are mentally competent to stand trial. There is a very high correlation between being a foster child multiple times and being involved in the juvenile justice system. I want to make sure these young people get the treatment they need so they don’t keep repeating the same behaviors. Most criminals commit crimes because they went through abuse as children. Many of them repeat their parents’ behaviors. A lot of them take out their anger from their parents on people around them, because they never learned how to cope with having a very short fuse. I want to help them learn to better control their emotions and be better contributors to society. I want to work with juveniles from the foster care system, to put them on the right path. Without higher education degrees, I can't learn how to be able to help the abused children, the former foster children, the veterans and those accused of committing crimes who need to be in the mental health system. I'm hoping to go to college to get my Bachelors' degree in Psychology, then I'm planning to go to graduate school to get my PhD in Trauma Psychology.
Ella Shanks
University of California-DavisCastro Valley, CA


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 26, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jun 25, 2022.

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