Foundation Scholarship: Paying it forward

Foundation Scholarship: Paying it forward

When I was a senior in high school and began the process of seeking out a college to attend, I was really clueless as far as what to look for. I am from a small town where not many of my peers would seek education after high school and neither of my parents had been to college either. I applied to Bloomsburg because my older brother (who was a sophomore here at the time) was pressuring me to do so, but I was feeling very lost and confused in trying to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life.

Lauren Erdman A few months before I graduated high school, I received 2 letters from BU saying that I had been offered both the Presidential Leadership scholarship and the Honors scholarship (both of which are made possible by the Henry Carver Fund). Then I chose to attend Bloomsburg because these scholarships made me feel that this was the University that was going to recognize my hard work and academic achievement. Also, it made BU significantly more affordable than Slippery Rock, which was the other school I was considering at the time, so I chose to come to Bloomsburg.

Shortly after arriving on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2010, my father became very sick and the doctors could not pinpoint the cause of his pain. Ultimately it was discovered that he had developed life-threatening blood clots in both of his legs. My father went through a series physically and emotionally tolling hospital stays and (when he finally came home) was put on bed rest and unable to walk for 9 months.

Because of the physically demanding nature of my father’s work, he was not able to work for nearly a year. My mother took a second job waitressing on weekends and I began to work on weekends for a kitchen in my hometown, but the financial impact on my family was looming as I finished my second semester in 2011. I was constantly worrying about how I would be able to fund another semester at BU when I learned that I had received the Paul J. Yori Award for students in hardships in addition to receiving the PLP scholarship for a second year.

These scholarships had a profound impact on me. I was so thankful that people whom I had never met cared about me enough to donate money (which they could have easily spent on themselves) to ensure that I would be able to achieve my goal of obtaining a college degree. This caused me to pay more attention to what I am doing with my own money.

My younger sister and I have a small business in which we use the feathers from the peacocks on our farm to make and sell headbands and other accessories. We market our jewelry at the Farm Show in Harrisburg every January. After the 2013 Farm Show we chose to donate a portion of our income to a friend and fellow BU student Kayla Heim to help her and her family as she continues to recover from a stroke.

In addition, I sponsored an essay contest at Dalmatia Elementary School (my alma mater) in the third grade classes. Students were invited to write an essay on how they would help their communities if given $100 and I collected and judged the essays to determine a winner. On January 19th while I was still home for Christmas vacation, the winning student Saxon, his parents, and I traveled to Danville to fulfill his wish of purchasing $100 of supplies to help the animals in the SPCA.

The following week I received an email from his teacher which read,

    “Thank you so much for doing this! Saxon really did enjoy the day! He usually writes in his journal about playing his xbox and trying to destroy the zombies, but that Monday he wrote about buying the stuff for the SPCA. So, I know that was meaningful for him. I am glad he was chosen and that the contribution was able to be carried through. Saxon was definitely able to make a memory in helping others, that he would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise..thank you for taking the lead in that..."

The scholarships which I have received while attending BU have been such a blessing to me and to my family, and I am so grateful and humbled by your generosity. I am sure that you efforts and gifts will have a lasting impact on the lives of the students you are helping…at least, I know it is true of me.

    Lauren Erdman, a junior business administration management major with an accounting minor