Young people everywhere are working hard to effect positive change in the world. Gifted young people are no exception, many of whom have made positive contributions to their communities before graduating from high school. Besides the intentional benefits of doing something that is personally fulfilling and helping those less fortunate, there are many unintended benefits of participating in such activities. These latent benefits include increasing the chances of admission to top-tier colleges, an abundance of scholarships and grants to pay for those colleges, boosting your resume and other exciting opportunities for funding, jobs, and even world travel. According to Miriam Weinstein, author of Making a Difference: Scholarships for a Better World, “Your background of consistent community service or activism will make you extra attractive to most colleges and graduate schools.” Additionally, the experience and knowledge gained through volunteering and participation in other service-oriented programs will better prepare young people with the skills needed for success in the job market after graduation. Therefore, one need not be the high school valedictorian or varsity standout to be the recipient of scholarship money and extracurricular opportunities. Contrary to conventional thinking, community service experience can be just as valuable an asset for the college applicant as the more traditional avenues of sport and academics.
This compilation of resources has been inspired by the incredible projects being undertaken by Davidson Young Scholars, through the Young Scholars Ambassador Program. These remarkable young people are working on projects that go beyond their own self-interests to make the world a better place for everyone. Through social, environmental and humanitarian efforts, Young Scholars are creating and implementing programs that will inevitably have a global impact. Designed as a place to locate scholarships, grants, jobs, careers and other opportunities for young people working to make a positive difference, this collection provides “a place to start” for the aspiring philanthropist.
Scholarships: Community service scholarships are lucrative and are often thought of as very prestigious by college admissions officers. Whether you’ve been active as a volunteer, or as an entrepreneur starting a non-profit -or anything in between- helping others can be time consuming and expensive in addition to being rewarding. Scholarships for those active in community service ventures of all kinds are available through public and private sources as well as directly through college and university offices of financial aid and scholarships.
Non-scholarship Funding: Taking a community service project or non-profit organization to the “next level” usually takes more than just hard work; it takes money too! Here are just a few of the many organizations that offer seed money, awards, stipends and grant funding for all types of non-profit programs and ideas.
Other Programs: Scholarships are not the only opportunities available to young people involved in community service activities. For those interested in exploring other options such as jobs, internships summer programs and travel, here are a few ideas.
Scholarship Search Engines: Regardless of your extracurricular interests and activities, there are many free search engines available that match students with scholarship opportunities according to various characteristics.
Research and Resources Educators: For teachers passionate about community service, there is no shortage of information and organizations with which to become involved. Here are a few resources teachers may find helpful when incorporating service learning into the classroom.
Further Reading and Research: Here are some additional resources that may be helpful.
Environmental Careers Organization (1998). The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers in the 21st Century. Island Press.
Erlbach, A (1998). The Kid’s Volunteering Book. Lerner Publications. Minneapolis, MN.
Fasulo, Mike (2001). Careers for Environmental Types and Others Who Respect the Earth. McGraw Hill.
Kenny, Maureen E. & Gallagher Laura A. (2003). Teenagers and Community Service: A Guide to the Issues. Praeger Publishers.
Kaplan, Ben (2002). How to go to College Almost for Free. Harper Collins.
Lewis, Barbara A. (1998). The Kids Guide to Social Action. Free Spirit Publishing. Minneapolis, MN
Weinstein, Miriam (2003) Making a Difference: Scholarships for a Better World. Sageworks Press.
Weinstein, Miriam. Making a Difference: College and Graduate Guide 9th edition. Sageworks Press.
Conclusion: Young people who are actively involved in community service, environmental, humanitarian and philanthropic ventures have a vast pool of resources from which to draw for unique experiences. In addition to the resources listed here, many corporations and financial institutions offer scholarship money for those participating in conservation, leadership and community organizing activities. Whether you’re looking for money for college or a private venture, travel, internships or a career path, the opportunities and resources are all out there, now go out and get them!
If you know of any additional resources that could be added to this list, please contact us. Disclaimer: The Davidson Institute for Talent Development does not specifically endorse any of the products or websites listed.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.