It’s scholarship time at Mission of Hope, a Christian charity based in Knoxville that serves Appalachian families in need.
MOH’s Scholarship Program supports those who dare to dream, and that number has reached 100 since Mission of Hope started its Scholarship Program in 2009.
Along with annual endowments at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky., and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., MOH awards $2,500 scholarships to 13 seniors at high schools in the rural, depressed communities where MOH serves 27 elementary schools.
More than half of those schools are in Kentucky.
From the high schools it serves, MOH gathers nominees who are recommended by their school principals. Students include a letter with their nomination.
These letters are both heartbreaking and inspirational. Students write about the odds they face and express their determination to surmount those obstacles.
“Education is a cycle-of-poverty breaker,” said Emmette Thompson, executive director of MOH.
“We know that there are students out there who want to break away, to do what no one in their family has done before.
“It starts with somebody believing in you.”
MOH supports scholarship winners by pairing them with mentors and honors the recipients with a banquet in the summer when students also receive a free laptop computer and printer.
A year ago, MOH assisted a total of 43 scholars. Since 2009, 23 students have graduated.
Eight more are on target to earn their degrees this spring.
To offset the costs of the scholarships, Mission of Hope relies on the financial donations of people who would like to help high school students fulfill their dreams of a college education.
“We tell the students we are so privileged to serve: ‘Never, never, never, let anyone steal your dreams… and dream big, because you can,” Thompson said.
“We know we are changing lives and ask your help in spreading the Hope to Appalachia.”
Mail your donation to Mission of Hope at P.O. Box 51824; Knoxville, TN 37950, or visit www.missionofhope.org or call (877) 627-1909.