Volunteering with the Special Olympics has given Shelby Leonard of Fort Myers, Florida, a glimpse into her future.
The Florida SouthWestern State College student hopes to become a pediatric nurse “to help all types of children, especially those with special needs,” she says.
Shelby recently wrote a thank-you letter to the Board of Directors of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation for awarding her a scholarship to help her achieve her goals. As the daughter of a UPS employee in Florida, she was eligible to apply for a scholarship through the JSF Scholarship Program.
This year, the program awarded a total of $293,500 to 53 new recipients, including Shelby. In addition, 146 students received renewal awards totaling $873,400.
From 1992, when the program began, to 2016, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation awarded more than $18.4 million for scholarships for more than 1,200 students.
This core program was dear to JSF founder Theodore R. Johnson, who joined United Parcel Service as an industrial engineer in 1923. He later became the first personnel manager and vice president for industrial relations before his retirement in 1952. He and his wife, Vivian, believed strongly that higher education paves the way to a better life.
Today, the Foundation that is their legacy funds a number of programs that support disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples.
The scholarship is for dependent children of full-time or permanent part-time UPS employees and UPS retirees in Florida.
The recipients attend schools throughout Florida and are studying a variety of subjects. Many of the students are active in campus activities and are gaining work experience through internships.
Samuel Alfonso, a student at the University of South Florida, recently spent the summer completing an internship with a civil engineering firm in Tampa.
“I have learned so much over the past couple of months about how civil engineering really works,” he wrote. “I have helped produce several sets of plans for the drainage division, and have even led proposal efforts on a job issued by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Another scholarship recipient, Kassidy Wells, aspires to become a nurse. She is a student at Rasmussen College in New Port Richey.
“While working and going to school full time, this scholarship has let me focus more on school and stress less about my finances,” she wrote. “I plan to follow your footsteps and one day give back to the community as you graciously have done for me.”
For more information about the scholarship program, visit www.jsf.bz.