For the first time, thousands of dollars in college scholarships are being awarded to teens who have received help from Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids.
The children’s behavioral health care organization offers treatment for mental disorders, among other services. Tanager CEO Okpara Rice says scholarships are another way to help clients who often face many challenges. Okpara says, “I know, as someone who grew up in an impoverished household and who came from a pretty tough background, and going to college, that financial stress and knowing that you’re going to be able to help someone alleviate some of that and to give him that head start, it’s pretty powerful.”
An endowment was established through an anonymous million-dollar donation. The interest this year allowed $24,000 to be awarded to six high school seniors. Rice says the criteria wasn’t limited to academic achievement.
“Kids who had come through our programs and have done some work to improve themselves, those kids also deserve a chance,” Okpara says. “They may not be straight-A students. They may have struggled in and out of school. Those kids also have a need to be able to access funds to be able to go to school.”
Rice says they plan to award scholarships once a year, but if the endowment grows, they’ll expand the number of grant opportunities.
(By John Pemble, Iowa Public Radio)