For DonorsFor Applicants

Linda Hicks Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Jul 31, 2024
Winners Announced
Aug 31, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate Student
African American
Has overcome domestic abuse or substance abuse or a loved one has

This memorial scholarship is intended to honor the love and legacy of Linda Hicks.

Linda was a loving person with a kind heart and generous spirit. As a survivor of childhood abuse by a family member and domestic violence, Linda demonstrated the courage to overcome many obstacles to provide better opportunities for herself and children. She enjoyed working, gardening, providing service and fellowshipping with others. Linda also served as a caretaker to elderly and disabled family members and often made personal sacrifices to provide better opportunities for herself and children. However, throughout her life’s journey, Linda struggled with depression from childhood abuse and intimate partner abuse and violence she experienced as an adult. She developed an alcohol addiction and often suffered in silence during a time when limited support and resources were accessible and available to her. 

A lot of progress has been made to assist women with education, tools and resources on how to safely leave abusive relationships or overcome trauma and substance addictions that were not available to Linda. This scholarship is intended to prepare and educate future generations to understand how to develop and enhance partnerships, innovate new approaches, tools and practices to help combat domestic violence and addiction to help prevent occurrences and effectively respond when victims need help. 

Although violence and addiction impacts all races, cultures, genders, religious affiliation, ages, educational and socioeconomic background with the same underlying issues, research reveals that African American women experience a higher percentage of unreported domestic violence and abuse in their lifetime.

This scholarship seeks to assist African American women who have been directly impacted or have a loved one that has experienced an abusive relationship and/or substance addiction.

To apply, please tell us how you have or plan to assist others in leaving abusive relationships and/or substance abuse addictions. Students majoring in social services or health and human services are strongly encouraged to apply.  

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published April 30, 2024
Essay Topic

How have you personally been impacted by domestic violence and/or substance abuse? How do you plan to use your higher education to assist in improving the care, coordination, and communication that will ultimately change the outcomes for African American women impacted by this issue?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Taliah Taylor
Michigan State UniversityDetroit, MI
Three words that stuck out from my childhood are pineapple extra smooth- the name of my mother’s favorite alcoholic drink. I remember going to the store with my mother before and after school, and I would hear her ask for a Pineapple Extra Smooth over and over again. After a while, I started to believe that she cared more about drinking than he did me. Her addiction consumed her and distracted her from her duties as a mother. I never received help on my homework, had school clothes on time, had birthday or Christmas presents, or received enough attention. I felt like my mom did not care about me, and I hated her for it. There were times when neither I nor my two other siblings had food to eat, but my mother had enough money to buy cigarettes and alcohol. I started saving the allowance my father used to give me, which was $5 every week. I put my money in one of my favorite books at the time, The Fault in our Stars, and would only go back to it to see if it was still there. One day my mother stole all of my savings. Why would a mother steal from her child? I hated my mother for this, but as I got older, I realized she was sick and needed help. The following year my mother ended up in the hospital. We were living with my aunt, and my mother threw up blood. She had surgery and ended up with tubes in her stomach. I was worried for my mother and thought that I could lose her. After this, my mother decided that it was time to get sober. Ten years later, she is sober and has not relapsed. During this time, I researched addiction and discovered that it creates a chemical imbalance in the brain and can cause the person to act like a different person. I began to feel sympathy for her once I learned her story. All of the trauma I faced as a child was a cycle. My mother once told me that grandma was an alcoholic and would leave for months, while her four kids were left to provide for themselves. My grandma turned to alcohol because she was a product of rape, and her grandmother would physically abuse her. My mother turned to alcohol because the people closest to her were murdered. Her sister died young, and her mother was shot in the face by her boyfriend. I realized that both my mother and grandma turned to alcohol because they felt like they had no one. “Black women are strong”, society says. Nobody is there to help them when they need it, so they turn to other sources like drugs and alcohol. Noticing the behavioral pattern in my family made me want to study psychology. I plan to start my own practice in my hometown, Detroit, where I will work with children who have had traumatic childhoods. I believe that it is vital for people to get help early before it turns into something worse. If my mother and grandmother had help for the trauma they undersent while thy were children, they may not have turned to alcohol or in the first place. I will use my voice to destigmatize people with addictions because they are in need of help. Black people already have odds against them from a young age, especially if they live in a poor neighborhood as I did. Therefore, we must do all we can to save them from themselves.
Nykiaya WilliamsBrown
Winston-Salem State UniversityKannapolis, NC
I have watched my mother be in abusive relationships for the majority of my life, whether it was physical or mental, it was always there. From the age of around eight until now. When I was younger it was just me, my twin sister, and my younger sister. My younger sister was the daughter of my mom’s boyfriend and that played a big part in what was happening. Every day there was constant arguing and bickering in the house, most of the time when my mom and her boyfriend started to argue my mom would tell me and my siblings to go into the room. But other times we would see everything. I would see my mom get punched, screamed at, and pushed around. When he would be coming at me and my twin she would try to intervene but it would just create more backlash for her. I felt trapped, I didn’t want to tell my family members because I didn’t want anything bad to happen. But even as a little kid, I knew things weren’t right. When I would stay at my grandparent's or godparents' house it wasn’t the same as being at home. The dynamic was different; there was more love over there and I was seen. I didn’t have to walk on pins and needles and be scared that something would pop off at any moment. But at home, I worried every day. At first, my mother was the only person being abused but then it seemed like her boyfriend turned on me and my twin sister. I felt like I was Cinderella and my younger sister was Cinderella’s sister. I felt like I was below my younger sister, she would get everything she wanted from her dad and I would be ignored. When we were arguing and she was clearly in the wrong I would get my head bashed in and she would come out on top. It made me not want to speak up anymore and just do what I was told. Now 10 years later some of the same things are still happening. My mother ended up leaving her ex-boyfriend and getting married. I thought after they broke up life would get better. It did for a couple of years until things took a turn for the worse. My stepdad has a lot of the same traits that my mom’s ex has, he mentally abuses everyone in the household and pushes my mom around and it seems like he does those things and gets away with it. That’s why I plan on getting my education and moving out. I am currently a freshman at Winston-Salem State University majoring in Psychology. I want to be a Child Mental Health Therapist or a therapist in general. I want to cater to the black community and be a reliable resource. I want more black women to be heard, not just women going through domestic violence but anyone with mental health problems. There is a stigma around mental health, especially in the black community. This makes people not want to reach out or think you are just a “crazy person” and not trying to find the core of the problem. I don’t ever want a person specifically children to go through what I went through and have no one to talk to. I want everyone to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I got through it and so can you.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 31, 2024. Winners will be announced on Aug 31, 2024.