8 November

The Refugee Scholarship Project

by Jon Katz

My Refugee Scholarship Project is moving forward. Last night, I spoke with a wonderful school teacher in the Albany Public School system, and she is talking to a young woman – one of her students – who may be interested in applying for a full scholarship at a highly regarded private school in the area.

I’ve asked that this scholarship go to a female.

We talked for over an hour, and she is thrilled to help one of her students get an opportunity like this. I was uplifting to speak to her.

I also talked to the Head Master of the Albany Academy, one of the private schools involved, he is seeking funds for the scholarship and he may connect me with some of the school’s students who wish to help raise money for this program.

He is eager for his highly regarded school to become more diverse. I’ve been contacted by a second private school – a teacher there reads my blog – and they are interested in meeting with me about doing the same thing.

I would be happy to work with these students, and good for them.

I believe they have been raising money on their own for just this purpose – to help gifted refugee children come to their schools and work towards college. I’m eager to meet them.

The next step is for the young woman and her family to meet with me and decide if she wishes to apply. If so, I will speak to the Head Master and make sure he is aware of her and her application. The teacher and I will recommend that she be admitted.

If the school wishes to meet with her, or vice versa, they can handle that directly with one another. My idea is to send at least one gifted refugee child a year to an highly-regarded public school that can help to further their desire for college, and a career beyond college.

I contacted two refugee programs in Albany, but none of them were interested in participating unless they could run the program.  I found this disheartening, frankly. This is a no-brainer to me.

There is no program here for me to run, I will be serving strictly as a middleman connecting the student to the school. I have no desire to work full-time in non-profit. If I partner up to support these students who are fund-raising, I’ll ask that any funds be sent directly to them, not to me.

I have requested that a condition of this all be that the student is admitted on a full scholarship, few refugee families have thousands of dollars in the bank to fill in any blank spaces.

I have been working with refugees and immigrants for several years now, and we have done a lot of good. I’ve decided that this is the kind of work – getting hard working and gifted students pointed towards college – that will have the most direct impact on a student’s life.

Many refugee parents say they agree.

This is a life-changer for the scholarship recipients.

I am proud of the work we have done this year, but this feels the most promising and feasible to me.

The refugees in America need vast amounts of help, much more than I can really provide, even with the support of the Army Of Good.  I will continue to help individual refugee and immigrant families as I find them, or as they come to me, if I can make a difference.

Thanks again for your interest and support.I think I am learning how to do good in a small, well-managed and effective way. I can think of few better ways to spend money.

If you wish to support my Mansion or refugee work, you can send a contribution to Jon Katz, P. O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com. I have some good holiday plans.

Small acts of great kindness is the idea.

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