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Michael-Christian Lopez

2065

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

Bio

Upon my graduation, I will be pursuing my bachelor's degree in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Mobile, where I have been accepted. My desire and passion is to help people, especially children. I will be a first-generation college student, therefore, this is a very special accomplishment for myself and my family as well. Growing up in a single-parent home has been a journey with many obstacles and challenges, both mentally and financially. My mother has done the best she could do for me and sacrificed so that I could participate in sports and keep me on a positive platform. I give a lot of credit to her for helping to keep me focused and grounded. I also think that being involved in the Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC) Program since my Freshman year of high school has helped shape me into the young man that I am today. It has taught me discipline and the importance of self-respect as well as having respect for others. JROTC has also given me the opportunity to serve in leadership roles and act as a role model for incoming Cadets. I received the Superior Cadet Award and the Purple Heart Award for Leadership. I've attended STEM Camp as well as other leadership conferences. These opportunities have definitely boosted my confidence and maturity level. My current rank is Command Sergeant Major. I plan to complete my Bachelor's degree in 2025 and then I will be pursuing my Master's degree. At that time, I will be ready to, professionally, begin my career in Psychology and Social Work. I want to make a difference in the lives of others.

Education

University of Mobile

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025

Satsuma High School

High School
2017 - 2021

Satsuma High School

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, Other
    • Social Work
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Psychology

    • Dream career goals:

      Creative Director of Social Work

    • Youth Soccer Referee

      Creola Youth Soccer Club
      2017 – Present7 years

    Sports

    Cross Country

    Varsity
    2017 – 20203 years

    Soccer

    Club
    2019 – 20201 year

    Soccer

    Varsity
    2017 – Present7 years

    Awards

    • Chamber of Commerce Player of the Month
    • Male Athelete of the Month, Satsuma High

    Research

    • Stock Market Crash of 2008

      Satsuma High School — Present Research Data to Judges for Senior Project
      2020 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Salvation Army and Waterfront Rescue Mission — Server, Clean-up detail for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
      2016 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    CEW IV Foundation Scholarship Program
    I believe it is not only the responsibility but the moral obligation of Society to change its way of responding to the problems of the disadvantaged. I think that for many years it has been the "status quo" for Society to just look the other way, even suggesting that these are generational under-deserving individuals who are somehow in their current conditions because they want to be or that they are unmotivated to change their outcome in life. When I think about what drives me, I believe that what you put in the Universe is what you get out of the Universe. My goal in life has always been driven by my desire to give back. I have always been determined to rise above my circumstances and naysayers who try to hold me back or inject negative stimulants into my mind. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old and I figured out early that I would not have the male role model in my home. Certain negative stereotypes come with being raised in a single-parent home. It's almost like you are expected to fail. I will be entering my Junior year of college this Fall pursuing a degree in Psychology and Social Work. Although I've always been a positive-thinking person, I know that for me to have come this far, I needed someone in my life to encourage and support my goals and dreams. That person was/is my mom. However, I do know that not every child or individual has someone who can be an advocate for them or just someone to say, "Yes", you can rise above your surroundings or your circumstance. I believe if, as a society, we could invest more in the mental health of the disadvantaged, we could produce a society of people who are more inclined to be productive citizens and not a drain on society. We need to invest in getting more social programs to the inner cities to reach those who are disproportionately represented. If we could build a community and invest in programs where children had more mentors or someone who could be that positive voice in their ear telling them they can succeed, we would have less gun violence, fewer drug addictions, and fewer teen suicides. How can we do this? I think we can build free after-school programs where children can learn some of the fundamental things that they can't get at home, we can produce positive change. Some children go to school and then come home and take care of themselves, especially if they come from a single-parent home. Oftentimes, the mom has to work one or more jobs, leaving teens to teach themselves and get into things that they should not be involved in. Their feelings of despair and that no one cares leads them down paths of sometimes no return. I also think that if there could be social programs in schools, it would be very helpful. There were some kids at my high school who were treated as outcasts because they looked different or dressed differently. If there were someone at school they could talk to or confide in could make a difference. So, yes, I believe that if Society would not look away or look down on disadvantaged people, we can effect a positive change in their lives.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    My greatest inspiration in life is to become a Social Worker and make a difference in the lives of others, especially minorities who are sometimes less fortunate and disproportionately represented.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    There are three things that I feel are imperative in order to continue growing or have a mindset of pushing forward in life. The first thing is "not being afraid to try new and different things." In other words, get out of your comfort zone. This can sometimes be very scary because no one likes rejection or failure. I am African-American and I love running Cross Country and Soccer. I am in my freshman year of college, but throughout my high school career, I was almost, always, the only minority on my team. This brings a sense of anxiety and a desire to prove yourself worthy in order to fit in. For me, this was something I embraced, and once I achieved my goal, a sense of accomplishment and growth. Secondly, " I like to help others who are less fortunate than I am. " The spirit of giving or putting a smile on someone else's face is something I find to be very gratifying, both spiritually and mentally. While in high school, I was a member of a club called "Project Outreach". This is a club that promotes the well-being of special-needs children by helping them feel self-sufficient and that they are productive members of society. Many of my peers would look down on special-needs kids at our school as if they didn't even exist. However, I know that if you cannot open your mind and heart to someone who is different than you are, there is no room for growth. Lastly, I believe in order to keep my mind sharp and ready for new challenges, I have to "maintain a healthy lifestyle." This means getting plenty of rest, eating properly, and exercise. So many of my peers have a difficult time with this because they want to party!
    Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
    Relatability and compassion are the characteristics that I value in myself and this is the reason why. My field of study is Social Work. I am currently in my freshman year of college as of August 2021 and well on my journey to pursue a degree in Social Work. I think that in order to succeed in this area of study, one must be able to see themselves in the place of others and what they are going through. Oftentimes, many professionals cannot relate to individuals that they are trying to help because they cannot or don't know how to relate to them. They cannot understand someone's feelings or what they are going through because they have never experienced those feelings or emotions. Relatability is a very important characteristic to possess in understanding social behavior. Compassion! I think that is something every healthcare professional should have. Without compassion, it is impossible to give quality care to those who seek your professional advice. As I reflect on my life, I think that growing up in a single-parent home has strengthened me as a person and heightened my awareness of hard work and the importance of humility, respect for others, and just plain human decency! My mom worked hard to provide for me and my sister and she's always taught us to never look down on anyone, no matter where they come from or who they are. I can relate to being pre-judged just because I come from a single-parent home. For example, when I would tell people what my future plans and dreams were, I would rarely get positive feedback. I am determined that I will not let any type of negative energy deter me from achieving my goals. I know that the qualities I possess such as compassion and relatability will allow me to succeed and help me in my life journey to become a Social Worker. While in my senior year of high school, I was chosen to be a Youth Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services. This is a United Way agency and they seek out high school Juniors and Seniors each year to be Ambassadors for their program. As an Ambassador, I served as a mentor to middle school adolescents to help guide them in the areas of bullying as well as cyber-bullying. In this capacity, I was able to share personal experiences that hopefully helped those who have been bullied or those who may be thinking of becoming an aggressor. So many teens today are choosing to take their own lives because of peer pressure and not having someone to relate to their situation and guide them through difficult situations. I think that my time serving as an Ambassador definitely reaffirmed my dream of becoming a Social Worker. Lastly, I think that spending all 4 years of high school in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) definitely helped me focus on those characteristics of compassion and relatability. As a senior officer, I had to be able to lead underclassmen and lead by example while not always getting respect in return. As an officer in the JROTC program, I was able to participate in local civic activities which allowed me to interact with veterans, special needs individuals, and many others who have changed my life forever! Those experiences will definitely help me in my future endeavor in life which is to serve others.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Never in a million years would I have thought that my final year of high school would be in the middle of a global pandemic! I am a member of the 2021 graduating class of Satsuma High School. I witnessed many friends and peers go through periods of depression and just lack of interest due to restrictions that were put in place to help keep students safe, such as masks and social distancing. Some students chose online learning, which presented a sense of isolation in itself. Many students failed to keep up with maintaining their grades. Luckily, my high school provided the choice of in-person or online classes. I chose in-person. My mom was very nervous and worried about allowing me to do this, however, I assured her that I would be diligent about wearing my mask and following the rules. I just wanted to make the most of my Senior year! I am a student-athlete, so playing soccer and running cross country definitely helped me to stay optimistic and get through those tough times when things looked so bleak. I felt like if I allowed my mind to rest on the things that I couldn't do or places I couldn't go, I would definitely fall into the despair that I had seen happen with some of my peers. I am thankful that I made it through my Senior year, got to go to my Senior Prom, and graduated in May 2021. I only got quarantined once! I am now in my Freshman year of college. The lessons that I learned helped me have a successful final year of high school. Those lessons were to stay positive and focused and never let anything stand in the way of your dream!
    Bold Climate Changemakers Scholarship
    The world has been our oyster for years. What I mean by this is that we have constantly throughout the decades ever since the industrial revolution used the earth for its resources and still continue to do so. However, the things we use these resources for have a negative impact on the earths environment and climate. There are plenty of things we could do to have a positive impact on the climate. For instance, this is probably the most often used example but recycling is something we all can do and has such a positive impact on the earth regarding climate. Another thing we could do is reduce our use of fossil fuels. We can do this by going electric. Getting rid of gas stoves and going electric, or even making the switch and using electric cars. One big brand of electric cars being Tesla. Although, people tend to misconstrue that Tesla is the only brand of cars that are electric and that is simply not true. Hyundai makes electric cars and so does Honda, and Nissan if I am not mistaking. The reason I say this is for the counter argument against people claiming that electric cars are expensive. Nevertheless, when those same people are asked if they have ever considered buying one they will often refer to Tesla in way that seems unaffordable. The reason I say that cutting down on the use of fossil fuels is important is because they directly contribute, along with other factors to global warming. Global warming is a current issue we are faced with and should take seriously. Compared to last summer this years summer was considerably hotter for most if not all countries across the world. One notably being the U.S. but i we do not act it the world will.
    Bold Caring for Seniors Scholarship
    There are a lot of things we could do as a society to improve the everyday lives of elderly people in our communities. Often times I wonder if we ever do enough. However, personally speaking I would make sure that hospitality is something that is practiced and used every time someone interacts with an elderly person. Moreover, I would make sure that engaging in conversations with the elderly is a top priority. The reason I say this is because throughout my generation studies have shown that we on average tend to avoid interactions amongst others. One especially being conversation. With the elderly, most are retired and want to get to know the youth that reside in their community and often look for a companion. This is because many elderly people are retired and have no social life or way of making new friends. Nevertheless, taking time out of your day just to talk to them or at the very least ask how they are doing will most likely make their day. These are all just simple things that everyone can do to make the lives of elderly people better. The only cost is just a portion of your time. Some other things we could do as a community is to try and get the elderly involved in city events. With that said I realize that not every elderly person has the physical ability to be involved in community events. Although, for the ones that can we should encourage them to partake in city events, or festivals. This is because a portion of elderly people have no family to be apart of and most live with a significant other. Getting elderly people involved in community events is vital because you never know how it will affect their life for the better.
    Bold Great Minds Scholarship
    Without a doubt, Congressman John Lewis is the person I admire! The reason I admire Mr. Lewis is because of the humility he showed throughout his lifetime. As a Civil Rights icon and Congressman, he lived his life fighting for social justice not just for African Americans, but for all. He played a key role during the civil rights movement in helping to end racial segregation in the United States. He also played a key role in protecting the right to vote for minorities. John Lewis came from humble beginnings, being raised in the South and born the son of sharecroppers. He lived on a farm and often joked about how he wanted to become a minister, so he would "preach to the chickens"! That act alone, in my opinion, showed determination at an early age. He would not be a victim of his circumstances. He knew that in order to accomplish his goals in life, he would need an education. This was something that was not promoted or even dared to be dreamed about for a young, black, son of a sharecropper. John Lewis was arrested many times throughout his life, often suffering from physical abuse and trauma in the process. He said it was okay to get into "good trouble". He knew that with his education and later being elected into Congress, he would be able to make an even greater impact in the lives of others by helping to create laws to protect the disproportionately represented people of this country. I come from a single-parent home and I have probably heard every negative comment under the sun as to why I shouldn't pursue a college degree! However, I am determined, just as John Lewis was when he was on that farm "preaching to the chickens"!
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    There are many pieces and bits of financial advice I have received. Although the most helpful piece would save your money and make it work. Now with out a doubt saving money is something almost if not everyone is told in their lives. Either by their parents, family, teachers or even friends. Now making your money work is something entirely different. Most people simply do not know how to make their money work. That is what makes this piece of advice so helpful to me. The difference between saving your money and making it work is that saving your money only allows you to not spend it and collect more while keeping what money you already have. Making your money work entails that you already have to have so much money saved up and then with that money you invest with it. Invest in what you may say... well it could be anything. A stock, a restaurant, or maybe starting your own business. Making your money work requires you to already have money saved therefore with that money you can invest and double, triple, maybe even quadruple how much money you earn with the money that you already have saved. One example I will use is my dear friend Mr. Stephen Hicks. He has his own orthodontist practice in Alabama and from that he has started his own tea company called Sweet Brew tea and he is now currently working to get his tea into restaurants and convenience stores across the country. He also invested in bees and has his very own hive and makes his own honey and likewise sells it in convenience stores as well. From this he has profited a handsome amount of money and continues to make it work.
    JuJu Foundation Scholarship
    My greatest inspiration in life is to become a Social Worker and make a difference in the lives of others, especially minorities who are less fortunate and disproportionately represented. My name is Michael-Christian A. Lopez. I am an African-American male and I recently graduated from Satsuma High School on May 14, 2021. I have been accepted to the University of Mobile where I plan to pursue a degree in Social Work and Psychology. My goal in life has always been driven by my desire to give back. What drives me is my determination to rise above my circumstances and naysayers who try to hold me back or inject negative stimulants into my mind. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old and I figured out early on that I would not have the male role model in my home. Some things that most teen boys take for granted were a really big deal for me! For example, I learned how to tie a necktie by watching YouTube videos. There are certain negative stereotypes that come with being raised in a single-parent home. It's almost like you are expected to fail. When I go to college this Fall, I will be a first-generation college student, so, therefore, I am more determined and driven to succeed and not only make a difference in the lives of others but to make my family proud. My mom had to retire last year and so she now has a fixed income, so finding money to help fund my college education has become my priority. When I think about what drives me, I also believe that what you put in the Universe is what you get out of the Universe. During my senior year, I was chosen to be a Youth Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services. This is a United Way Agency that selects high school seniors to serve as Ambassadors to mentor other youth between the grades of three through eight. We were trained to mentor in the area of bullying and cyberbullying. Being an Ambassador was something that I really enjoyed because it allowed me to share personal experiences with younger teens. So many youths have been lost to teen suicide because of cyberbullying or some form of teen pressure. This role as Youth Ambassador reinforced my goal of becoming a Social Worker. My mom has always taught me that it is important to give back so, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we volunteer at the Salvation Army and the Waterfront Rescue Mission. We help serve meals, decorate, clean up, or whatever they need us to do. While volunteering at the Mission, which is for men only, I got to see first-hand how so many men have ended up in a homeless shelter. Some are even former veterans. This experience helped me to also realize that Social Work is what inspires me. I am driven by my desire to create programs that will help those who have been forgotten.
    "What Moves You" Scholarship
    "I Will Not Be Deterred By My Circumstances". This is a quote that has become my inspiration and motto for accomplishing the things that are important in my life. My name is Michael-Christian A. Lopez. I am an African American male. I am 18 years old and I graduated from Satsuma High School on May 14, 2021. I have faced adversity in many areas of my life, but the one that has really stood out the most is having to go above and beyond to prove myself worthy. The high school that I graduated from is predominately White. The sports I play, Soccer and Cross Country consist of predominately White players. Most of my friends are White. Oftentimes, being the only minority on the team comes with the feeling of having to prove myself worthy in order to fit in. I'm usually the first player on the field and the last person to leave the field. I want to make sure I give 100% so that my coaches and my teammates see me as an asset and not a liability. Sometimes negative feedback or negative energy can take its toll on your mindset. This is why I came up with the phrase "I will not be deterred by my circumstances". Someone told me once that the sports I play are not "Black" sports and that I should try basketball or football. Experiences such as this only encourage me to strive to be the best that I can be and prove that I have what it takes to succeed. I have been playing soccer since the age of 5 years old when my mom started letting me play on the YMCA youth soccer teams. I have been accepted and plan to attend the University of Mobile in the Fall of 2021 and hopefully join the men's soccer program. During my senior year of high school, I was chosen to be a Youth Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services. This is a United Way agency and high school seniors are selected to mentor other youth in grades three through eight. Ambassadors are trained to teach kids how to cope with and avoid bullying and cyberbullying. Through this program, I was able to share some of my personal experiences and hopefully, it helped that student who may have thought there was no way out. I felt very passionate about this program because so many teens have committed suicide as a result of some form of bullying. I plan to major in Social Work and Psychology and once I achieve my goal of becoming a Social Worker, I will be able to make a difference in the lives of others by creating programs for our youth and just those who feel alone. Believing that "I will not be deterred by my circumstance" has gotten me through a lot of tough times. I think staying positive and surrounding yourself with positive people in your life is the key to success.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    Hello, my name is Alex Lopez and in this picture is probably one of my most boldest moments. In this picture, I am about to speak to an audience of hundreds as well as my graduating senior class as the secretary for the class of 2021. I am shot with nerves and hoping that I do not mispronounce my words. The one thing you can see in this picture is my realization that four years with my best friends has come to and end and tonight would be the last time I would call them my classmates.
    Bubba Wallace Live to Be Different Scholarship
    "I will not be deterred by my circumstances." This is a quote that has pretty much become my inspiration and motto for accomplishing the things that are important in my life. My name is Michael-Christian A. Lopez. I am an African-American male. I am 17 years old and I graduated from Satsuma High School in Satsuma, AL on May 14, 2021. I have faced adversity in many areas of my life, but the one that has really stood out the most is having to go above and beyond to prove myself worthy. The high school that I graduated from is predominately white, the sports I play, Soccer, and Cross Country consist of predominately white players. Most of my friends are white. The adversity that I have experienced is that oftentimes, being the only minority on the team comes with the feeling of having to prove myself worthy in order to fit in. I'm usually the first person on the field and the last player to leave the field. I want to make sure I give 100% so that my coaches and teammates see me as an asset and not a liability. Another adversity is being the smallest guy on the team. Sometimes negative feedback or energy can take a toll on your mindset, which is why I came up with the phrase "I will not be deterred by my circumstances". I had someone tell me once that the sports I play are not "Black" sports and I should try basketball or football. Experiences such as this only encourage me to strive to be the best that I can be and prove that I have what it takes to succeed! I have a love and a passion for soccer. I have been playing since the age of 5 years old when my mom started letting me play on the YMCA youth soccer teams. I have been accepted and plan to attend The University of Mobile in the Fall of 2021 and hopefully join the men's soccer team. Negative feedback comes in many shapes and forms. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. The stereotypes that are sometimes placed on kids who are raised by a single mom are also a form of adversity that I have experienced. It is almost as if, because you come from a single-parent home, you are expected to fail. Again, I will not be deterred by my circumstance. Yes, it has been challenging at times growing up without a father in my home, but I give my mom all the credit for the person that I am today. I talk about my mom a lot because I know how much she has sacrificed for me and my sister. As I stated earlier, I have been playing soccer and also participated in cross country throughout my high school career. I know that participating in sports was not cheap, but somehow she found a way so that I could fulfill my dreams. She has retired and is now living on a fixed income. Winning this scholarship would definitely mean a lot and help me pay for college. The adversities I have experienced in my life, I think, will definitely allow me to help others in the future. I plan to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Psychology. I chose this field of study because of my desire to help and heal others. During my senior year of high school, I was chosen to be a Youth Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services. This is a United Way Agency and high school Seniors are selected each year to mentor other youth in grades three through eight. Ambassadors are trained to teach kids how to cope with and avoid bullying and cyberbullying. I was able to share some of my personal experiences and hopefully helped that student who may have thought there was no way out because many teens have committed suicide as a result of some form of bullying. Once I have achieved my goal of becoming a social worker, I know I will be making a difference in the lives of others by creating programs for our youth and just those who have faced adversities in their lives. In conclusion, the adversities I have experienced in my life have only made me a stronger person. I believe the way to overcome them is to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people in your life. Most of all, as mom says, stay humble.
    Little Bundle Supermom Scholarship — High School Award
    Single moms and the African-American male! That is my struggle as well as my joy! I am the son of a single mother. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old and I am now 17 years old and I just graduated from Satsuma High School in Satsuma, AL on May 14, 2021. I have been accepted to the University of Mobile and plan to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Psychology in the Fall of 2021. The reason that I say being raised by a single mother is my "struggle" is because of the things my mother can't teach me. Things such as learning how to tie a necktie, I had to learn by watching YouTube videos! This is something that most teen boys my age take for granted who have fathers in their home, but to me, it was a big deal! I also say that it is a struggle because of the stereotypes that are sometimes placed on minorities who come from single-parent homes. I strive to make a difference and to make my family proud. I am fortunate that I have positive role models through my church family and also through being involved in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at my high school. I joined JROTC in my Freshman year and continued through my Senior year. My rank was Command Sergeant Major. Upon graduation, I was promoted to the grade of E-3. My involvement in the JROTC program has given me the opportunity to grow as a person through discipline and respect for others. The reason that I say that being raised by a single mother is also my "joy" is because of the relationship I have with my mom. I think we have a bond that can't be broken because I know what she has sacrificed for me. I know that I can talk to her about anything and not be judged because she only wants the best for me. When my parents divorced, my mom basically took on the role of both parents by making sure that I excelled academically as well as allowing me to pursue my athletic dreams by working long hours and sacrificing so that I could play soccer as well as run cross country throughout high school. The opportunity to play sports gave me a place of refuge and security. I knew that the fees were expensive, but my mom didn't complain. She has retired now and I know that money for college is scarce. I also have a sister who is in 10th grade. My dad lives in the city, but he has never played an active part in my life. This is why winning a scholarship such as this will help me with my expenses for college in the Fall. Even with the student loans I have applied for, I will still have out-of-pocket fees over $5,000. If I am awarded this scholarship, it would definitely be a blessing and I could use it towards books and other fees. It would definitely lighten the load for my mom now that she is on a fixed income. I will also be starting a summer job in a few weeks to help with my expenses. As I stated earlier, I will be attending the University of Mobile where I plan to study Social Work and Psychology. Once I receive my Bachelor's degree in 2025, I will be a first-generation college graduate! I chose this field of study because of my desire to help others and hopefully give back in some way. One of the things that my mom, my sister, and myself have done thru the years is to volunteer at the Salvation Army and the Waterfront Rescue Mission during the holidays. We help serve meals, decorate or serve on the clean-up committee. Basically, whatever they need us to do. My mom has always said that it is important to give back or help others in some way. While volunteering at the Rescue Mission, which is for men only, I got a first-hand look at how a lot of men, who are homeless are coping and having a hard time adjusting to society. Many of them have drug addictions and so many social issues that keep them from being productive members of society. Some of them who come to the Shelter are veterans who have served and fought for our Country. I found this to be very troubling and sad. When I complete my education and become a trained Social Worker, I plan to use my education to help develop programs for people who have been forgotten or left behind. In conclusion, I will say that being raised by a single mother is nothing that I am ashamed of because my mother has instilled the values in me that I think have shaped me into the young man that I have become today. If I could give advice to any kid being raised by a single mom, I would tell them to "not be deterred by their circumstance". Surround yourself with positive people and positive things and your future will be bright! Most of all, as my mom tells me all the time, stay humble and true to who you are. I hope to get married and have a family one day and I will do everything in my power to make sure my children have a well-rounded upbringing. My mom deserves all the credit for my success thus far, and I know she will continue to be with me in all of my future endeavors!
    Social Change Fund United Scholarship
    My name is Michael-Christian A. Lopez and I am an African-American male. So, my journey in life has been somewhat of a double whammy for things I want to achieve because I am a minority and because of my name. Both of my parents are African-American, however, my father was adopted as a child by his Hispanic stepfather and given his last name. Having said that, my thoughts on mental health for the Black community run deep! There can truly be no single perfect utopian vision for optimal mental health for the Black community. The reasoning behind this statement is a simple fact that there will always be outliers. Those who rebel and disrupt the system and refuse to seek or receive help; especially within communities of color. With that being said, there are multiple visions of optimal mental health for the Black community. These visions may not be perfect but they are as close to perfection as they can get. The main vision that I have in mind for optimal mental health within our community is one that caters to the young African American children living in the Black community. What I mean by this is creating a program that takes away the harsh reality of some children living in Black communities. This harsh reality I am referring to when speaking about Black communities is gang violence, in-crowds, and rehabilitation. Children in Black communities are scared of drivebys when really they should just be scared of the dark! Those very same children fall victim to in-crowds within the school system because being in gangs is the only thing that is promoted heavily in schools within Black communities. Oftentimes, the fathers of Black children are gang members and so as a Black child that is all you know, how you live, and how you survive. Referring back to my previous statement, Black communities need programs for the youth that promotes mental health and stability. This needs to happen with a sense of urgency because it starts with the children. If we, as a Black community, start slowly planting seeds for the betterment of the youth within, then the children will slowly catch up to speed. Soon with programs for their mental health, they can realize that being in gangs is not all that they are confined to and that they themselves can freely express who they are and be who they want to be. They can pursue bigger things in life far beyond the confines of their cities. The children are our future and we have to invest in them! My vision for the Black community isn't just promoting mental health but also teaching individuals how to be successful. I plan to study Social Work and Psychology in College this Fall and I know with this training, I can make a difference. Lastly, my vision for optimal mental health in Black communities includes rehabilitation centers and local groups that strive to get young African Americans, particularly male African Americans back on their feet with a changed mindset and a changed heart. A "will" within themselves to encourage others to do better than they did and do better for themselves. Not only as a friend, but as a father, an uncle, or even a teacher. Mental healthcare and advocacy can help achieve social justice for Black communities because the help that Black communities need has never been truly addressed and fixed properly. Then, we clearly see the bigger picture and have a set goal in mind for all Black communities as a whole to achieve social justice and equality for all.
    Undiscovered Brilliance Scholarship for African-Americans
    Hi, my name is Michael-Christian A. Lopez. I am an African-American young man who is about to embark upon my lifetime dream of becoming a Social Worker! First off, I know my name is misleading. Both of my parents are African American, however, my dad was adopted by his stepfather as a child and that is how the name came about. I am currently a Senior at Satsuma High School which is located in Satsuma, AL in the County of Mobile, AL. I have been accepted to the University of Mobile and I will be attending in the Fall of 2021. I will be a first-generation college graduate. I have pretty much grown up in a single-parent household. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. It has been me, my mom, and my sister who is in 10th grade. I have had struggles in many areas of my life with the absence of a male role model. For instance, I learned how to tie a necktie by watching YouTube videos! Some people may think that is not a big deal, but just having someone there for the simple things is a big deal! I have connected with male role models at my church as well as being a member of Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC) at my school. I have been a member since my Freshman year and my current rank is Command Sergeant Major. My participation in JROTC has allowed me the opportunity to attend Stem Camp and attend leadership conferences. This has helped me to evolve and help shape me into the person that I am today. My dream has always been to help others in any way that I can. I plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in Social Work and Psychology. I have experienced some negative feedback when I tell people what my dream is, but I will not let that deter me because I know what is at stake. Yes, I am an African-American male and yes, the odds are stacked against me, but I believe with hard work and a clear mindset, I can achieve my goals. As I said earlier, coming from a single-parent home comes with certain stereotypes and negative connotations, but I have always had the support of my mom. She has always made sure I excelled academically as well as paying for me to play sports throughout my high school career. She retired last year, so finding ways to help myself pay for college has been my priority. I feel like the things I have done to better myself and others would be my participation in many organizations at school as well as my community. For example, I have been a member of Project Outreach at my school for the past two years. The mission of Project Outreach is to create relationships between individuals with disabilities and the community. For example, every year the children get to participate in the Special Olympics which I am a part of and put on at our school. I am also an Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services. Crittenton is a United Way Agency whose mission is to provide health education and youth development to teens and preteens. I was selected during the summer preceding my Senior year to be an Ambassador. Youth Ambassadors are high school Seniors who are selected and trained to help teach children in grades three through eight positive ways to deal with bullying as well as cyber or social media bullying. I have been able to share my personal experiences with the kids that I mentor and I think I have made a difference in their lives. I think being an Ambassador has also helped me to better myself a great deal and also confirm my dream and ambition to become a Social Worker. I know I am on the right path and this is my passion! I also volunteer annually, at the Salvation Army and the Waterfront Rescue Mission to help serve and clean up for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Volunteering at the Rescue Mission has been a real eye-opening experience. The Mission is just for men and by volunteering there, I learned so much about how people live their lives and how certain circumstances have gotten them to a homeless shelter. My career in Social Work will definitely prepare me to be able to help individuals who are not just homeless but those who have lost their way and feel there is no hope or a future for them. In conclusion, I think to "dream big" just means to stay positive, surround yourself with positive things and people because there are people out there who want to crush your dream if you allow them to. Another aspect is what my mom always tells me, and that is to stay humble. I'm only 17 years old, but I hope that the things I have done so far have had a positive impact on someone so that they too can "dream big"! Thank you, Michael-Christian Lopez
    Brandon Zylstra Road Less Traveled Scholarship
    Making a difference in the lives of others, especially the youth! That is what I am most passionate about. I have been accepted and plan to attend the University of Mobile in the Fall of 2021. I plan to study Psychology and Social Work. I chose this field of study because I believe it will prepare me for a future to be able to reach those who are in need. Growing up in a single-parent home comes with many struggles and unknowns. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. I knew early on that not having my father in the home was something I would have to get used to. I had to learn how to tie a necktie by watching YouTube videos! This is something that many young men my age take for granted because they have a dad who is actively involved in their lives. My mom basically took on the role of both parents. She made sure that I excelled academically as well as allowing me to pursue my athletic dreams by working so that my sister and I would not go without the things we needed. I decided that I would be an overcomer and beat the odds of the negative stereotypes of coming out of a single-parent home. This is particularly why I want to give back to others and make a difference in the lives of young people who may not see a way out of what they are experiencing in life or think that they have no chance of succeeding. I like to describe myself in one phrase "not deterred by circumstance". I would say that what I am most proud of is being able to go to college. I will be a first-generation college student. As I stated earlier, people tend to put you in certain categories because of where you come from. Overcoming the adversity of breaking that stereotype has been what I'm most proud of despite the odds being stacked against me. I remember a time when I was in 9th grade, one of my classmates teased me about getting good grades. He said that I cared about my grades too much! I realized that this was peer pressure and I was determined that I would not let that deter me from achieving my goals. I am a Senior and a current member of the National Honor Society with a 3.75 GPA. This year, I was chosen to be a Youth Ambassador for Crittenton Youth Services, a United Way Agency. As an Ambassador, I represent my high school and I get to serve as a mentor to middle school adolescents by sharing and listening to them share their experiences about peer pressure and social media bullying. So many times, kids feel as if they have no way out when they are subjected to bullying, which sometimes leads to teen suicide. As I share my experiences with them, I hope it will breathe new hope into their lives and help them to realize that things will work out for them if they stay positive and believe in themselves. I believe my work as a Youth Ambassador will help me with my career goal of pursuing Psychology and Social Work. I believe that in order to achieve your goals in life, you have to be passionate about reaching them. I plan to receive my Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Social work in 2025 and then go on to pursue a Master's Degree. At that time, I will formally, be prepared to pursue my passion for helping others!