For DonorsFor Applicants

Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship

1st winner$1,500
2nd winner$1,000
3rd winner$500
Next Application Deadline
Jul 17, 2024
Next Winners Announced
Aug 17, 2024
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
In recovery, clean for at least one year
Education Level:
Undergraduate or graduate school student

Nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, but research shows that only 10% of them seek treatment help. 

It takes strength and perseverance to seek help. Recovery is a process that takes time and can be difficult, so it is important to recognize individuals who are taking those crucial steps. 

The Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship is intended to help a college student in recovery from substance abuse or alcohol addiction. The goal is to give people in recovery an opportunity that will help them on their path.

You must be an undergraduate or graduate school student in recovery, clean of substances or alcohol for at least one year to be eligible. To apply, explain what recovery means to you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 17, 2024
Essay Topic

What does recovery mean to you?

100–250 words

Winners and Finalists

August 2023

Shane Ruyle
Caroline Zimmerman
Beckett Roskoski
Rachelle McConnell
Cortney Anderson
Sidney Oxborough
Therese Clucas
Amandine Cassidy
Amanda S
Kerah Pralle
Maria Montgomery
Jacquelyn Thyne
Kelsey Lagaly
Maria jose Arellano
Mario Varzeas

September 2022

Winning Application

Melissa Perkins
University of New Hampshire-Main CampusManchester, NH
My name is Melissa Perkins, and I am a non-traditional student who returned to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in addiction counseling and mental health with a minor in sociology. When I was in treatment, I knew that I wanted to help people. The idea of helping someone go through what I had gone through was appealing to me. Recovery means to me several things. It includes working my program every day, sponsoring other women, and having a service position as a General Service Representative in my district. It also means being available to other women in my network as sober support. Learning to live a happy life while balancing mental health and addiction is no small feat and as a person who has learned to cope with it, I want to help others accomplish this as well. My goal is to become a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor and help others with dual-diagnosis diseases. I want others to realize that they do not have to live with the stigma without getting help and they too can accomplish anything they set their minds to. It is never too late in life to live a happy healthy life.
Mateo Alcantar
San Francisco State UniversityDaly City, CA
Addiction is the only disease that leaves the individual better off. Through recovery, I have learned that my disease is not something I can cure, once an addict always an addict. Recovery is not exclusively a journey toward sobriety, it is also a journey of self-improvement and self-discovery. I have taken inventory of all those I’ve wronged and made amends whenever possible; I am not the person I was during active addiction. As for self-discovery, I have reclaimed my old hobbies and even found new ones. To me, recovery is an ongoing battle where I am never safe from the urges; however, each day I endure I grow stronger and stronger. An integral part of my recovery was realizing that I am unable to overcome addiction alone. A strong support group and remaining active in the community is necessary for my recovery. Despite being a poly addict, Alcoholics Anonymous has been a vital resource for me. Being active in my community involves speaking during meetings, reading the big book, and working the steps. While Alcoholics Anonymous is not part of everyone's recovery, it is necessary for mine. The next leg in my recovery is giving back to my community by becoming a sponsor or volunteering for the Alcoholics Anonymous hotline. Each day I spend in recovery my love for life increases; I am excited to see how my continued recovery guides me.
Jessica Murray
Northern Kentucky UniversityFrankfort, KY
Recovery means an active change in attitudes and ideas, and ultimately actions. With almost 8 years clean, I still find that life is full of opportunities for learning, and I am finally willing and able to take advantage of them. Recovery has given me the confidence and self-respect that I have always wished I had. It has also put me in a position to be successful and view my past as a source of hope and strength, rather than a weakness or source of shame. The most important thing that I have learned in recovery is that I have to continue to give my experience where it is needed in order for me to keep my vitality in recovery. My life is a demonstration of that mentality evident in the amount of service I do at local organizations, within my 12 step fellowship and beyond. Lastly, recovery means that I get to be the mother that my daughter deserves. I can provide her needs, and be present and mindful to watch her grow and develop. I have something very valuable to offer as a parent and as a human being. I look forward to all the things life has to offer as I stay clean one day at a time.
Michelle Salyers
Kent State University at AshtabulaRock Creek, OH
I have been 21 months sober as of today. My drug of choice was methamphetamines. When I was in active addiction, my life was completely unmanageable. I was homeless and pregnant and couch-bouncing if I was lucky. I couldn't imagine it ever getting better but by the grace of God, I got sober. I had my baby and she is almost two. She is the biggest blessing that I have besides my recovery. Being in recovery to me means everything. It is continuous work like having a job. You always have to put in the effort. You continuously have to work on yourself and work towards improving every day and staying sober. Being in recovery means to me that you have to always be honest, hard-working, humble, etc. I believe that you have to work on programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Crystal Meth Anonymous or whatever suits you most. I believe that you have to pay attention to yourself and the signs and always stay in contact with your support systems. I choose to work a program with Celebrate Recovery and I always go to church as much as I possibly can. I really enjoy church, I enjoy diving in and praying and completely relying on God because I wouldn't be able to do this without him. God, recovery and my family are my everything and I couldn't be more appreciative. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you!
Keely Ray
Peninsula CollegePort Angeles, WA
My name is Keely Ray, and I am an addict. I have been sober for 4 years now, determined to better my life for the sake of my kids. To me, recovery doesn't only mean being clean and serine from alcohol and drugs. It means so much more than that. It means change for the better. Change plays a significant role in recovery, due to the fact that choosing to eliminate drugs and alcohol from your life will change everything, in ways that can be terrifying to someone in active addiction. But what else changes when choosing recovery? As someone who has been through recovery myself, I have changed in more ways than just staying sober. My mindset, mental health, spirituality, and determination, were all impacted positively by choosing to rid my life of drugs and alcohol. Narcotics anonymous changed my life for the better. Through this program, I was able to get the support that I so desperately craved my entire life, ultimately leading to addiction. Through recovery, my health and wellness have increased significantly, as well as my mental health. These changes have provided me with the ability to reach my full potential as a self-sufficient single mom of 2 in recovery, aiming to create a beautiful drug-free life for my children and me.
Stacy Peterson
Wayne County Community College DistrictWestland, MI
What recovery means to me. I will never forget what it feels like to not be able to look at yourself in the mirror, because you cannot stand to face what you’ve done to yourself. Recovery has giving me my life back. A life that I can be proud of. It’s given me my soul back. It’s given me my family back. It’s give me my dreams back. Today this precious gift of recovery means the world to me. I have 4 years 2 months and 17 days clean from heroin, crack, and methadone. I work on my recovery every day. I make 12 step meetings, I call people in recovery, I talk to my sponsor, and I sponsor other women in recovery. Being able to share my story with others who struggle to stay clean is one of the greatest gifts of being in recovery. It means so much to me to look at an addict whose struggling to kick opioids and tell them to hold on, you can make it, just don’t give up, if I can do it so can you.
Melissa Ugalde
University of KentuckyMURRIETA, CA
Recovery has given me freedom. Freedom from active addiction and freedom from self. I was an alcoholic for most of my adult life. Having found myself in an abusive marriage, it was the only way I knew how to cope. My alcoholism led to drug use and I quickly became a meth addict. I lost custody of my kids, I became homeless and lost any desire to live. On May 8, 2019 I finally surrendered to my disease, and to my pain. Over the last four and a half years I have worked extremely hard to rebuild myself and my life. It took me a year to regain custody of my kids, but I never gave up. Becoming a member of Narcotics Anonymous gave the the freedom from active addiction however, my journey does not end there. I have worked through the 12 steps multiple times and, in doing so, have found freedom from self. Today I am a mom again. An even better one than I was before. I have learned how to place boundaries in my life and have developed healthy relationships. I work as a substance abuse counselor in a effort to help those who are still lost. I am continuing my education to become a licensed clinical social worker so that I can work one on one with women who struggle with substance abuse and/or domestic violence. Recovery has saved my life and has given me the opportunity to become an example for others.
Steven Balcomb
Baldwin Wallace UniversityAshtabula, OH
Recovery to me means a change in thoughts and actions. For me, it is abstinence, god, and the 12 steps. Beginning in rehab, I found a recovery program that I think was gifted to me. Without it, I would likely not be alive right now, let alone applying for a scholarship. I currently have almost 4 years clean, and I am still recovering. I have a lot of work to do for my spirit, and a lot of character defects to still have removed. It has been such a life-altering experience, and I owe it my very life. My primary purpose is still to carry the message, and I plan to do that everywhere I go. Taking inspiration from Recover Out Loud, I do not keep it a secret. You never know when someone is listening who may need help. It would be an honor to be the one who can be the help they need. Recovery to me means being the best I can be.
Ryan McCormick
Michigan State UniversityJACKSON, MI
I have been in recovery since February 7th, 2019. Nearly five years. My recovery has given me a life that is vastly different from the life my addiction gave me. In my addiction, my life was a daily struggle. I was consumed with getting, using, and finding the ways and means to get and use more. Every day. For many years. I was in and out of rehabs, homeless shelters, and jails. I lost jobs, friends, family, and my freedom. But the most profound thing I lost was my identity as a human being. Recovery may mean different things to different people. For me, it means several things. Recovery means re-discovering my identity that was lost due to my addiction. It means healing from past traumas. It means undergoing spiritual and emotional growth. It means learning to gain back self-worth and learning to love myself again. Recovery means learning to take responsibility for my decisions and ownership of my circumstances. Recovery means taking back possession of my life. For me, recovery has been a beautiful process of discovering, of healing, of growing, and of changing. Recovery is something to be supremely proud of. It means learning how to walk side-by-side with pain and discomfort. It means facing adversity and challenges head-on. It means not running. It means taking a stand. And it means overcoming. Recovery has given me a second chance at a fulfilling life.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 17, 2024. Winners will be announced on Aug 17, 2024.