Sunday, February 7, 2010

Charity of the Month - February

While I'm planning on focusing on one specific charity in this post (for which I hope you will forgive my blatent nepotism), the issue here is a broader one. Across the country, millions of people, primarily high school seniors, are applying for financial aid. Not only is this a difficult process, but with government loans in particular the road can be hairy at best, as last year the budget shortfall made students' aid checks, which are mailed directly to the schools, weeks and even months late. While direct scholarships are less dependent on governmental beaurocracy, with so many in need, grant and scholarship applications are flooding in to organizations that have been, in turn, affected by a downturn in donations. If you are at all inclined to contribute to an education-related fund, now would be a good time.

This month's focus is on a particular fund that is both hard and uplifting for me to talk about. As most of you know, my nephew, Ryan, died almost exactly three years ago, at the age of sixteen, in a sledding accident. As a junior, he was in the process of looking into colleges and taking his SATs, preparing for the full life ahead of him. His death was a terrible loss that we all feel every day. His twin sister is now twenty and in college herself, and he has two baby twin sisters who he will never meet, but who will hear about their brother all the time from those of us who love him.

To keep Ryan's memory and dream of college alive, his parents established the Ryan Conley Memorial Fund, a scholarship that benefits local high school seniors. Rather than focusing only on acedemics, its goal is in assisting those who have been involved consistently in community service, as Ryan was, get a start on their life, whether it be college, business, or employment with a community service organization. Preference is given towards children of community servants such as teachers, EMTs and firefighters. Ryan volunteered extensively at the local firehouse where his father is a member, and it was that unit that essentially rappelled down the icy embankment in an effort to save him.

To donate, or find out more about the fund, click here.

Ryan and his twin sister, Corinne, on their farm, shortly before his death.


Not Your Aunt B said...

What a wonderful way to remember Ryan- a tribute to him. My eyes are teary just reading it- you can just feel your sadness of not having him here. May his fund help many young people make a difference!

LoriD said...

What a positive outcome from a truly tragic situation.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Lovely. Tragic. Hopeful.

A good reminder that amazing charities are right here, close to home.