Early childhood education and educational experiences, at school and beyond the classroom, lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. To help kids get a solid and well-rounded start, many kinds of organizations offer many kinds of financial awards to assist, inspire and honor students—from philanthropic contests to subject-specific camps to K-12 scholarships for the gifted and the needy.
Here's a sampling of four award programs geared to children's interests, academic level, or income level of their families:
1. Philanthropic-Minded Kids
When Hannah Turner of Perrysburg, Ohio was 4 years old, she saw a homeless man wearing battered shoes and no socks on a cold winter day. Hannah wanted to give the man her own socks, and refused to leave until her parents promised to buy him new socks.
Seeing the man made such an impression on Hannah that, along with her friends and family, she started a sock drive at local schools and churches. Two years later, in 2007, she formed the nonprofit Hannah's Socks (www.Hannahssocks.org) to collect new socks and underwear—the items that homeless men, women and children need the most but are given the least. Hannah's Socks has collected 100,000 clothing items to date.
In 2009, 8-year-old Hannah was one of 10 national winners of The Kohl's Kids Who Care® Scholarship Program, which recognizes and rewards young volunteers who help make their communities a better place.
Award(s): Nominees are divided into two groups (ages 6-12 and 13-18) and awards are given on three levels:
2. Future Astronauts
For children aged 9 to 11 who want to be an astronaut, Space Camp® at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center can be a glimpse into their future. During this six-day camp, kids get to tumble through the atmosphere, bounce on the moon and glide through space as they perform tasks in astronaut simulators. They build and launch a rocket, experience 4Gs during liftoff on the Space ShotTM and climb the Mars Climbing Wall.
Campers get to choose one of three specialty tracks—Space, Space & Robotics, or Space & Aviation.
Qualifications: Applicants may apply in one of four categories:
Additionally, each applicant must answer an essay question, design a mission patch, describe a science project using the scientific method, and provide three letters of recommendation.
Award(s): Full scholarships cover tuition, room & board for any weeklong, age-appropriate camp and are good for one year. Transportation and incidentals are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient.
Deadline: Applications for 2010 will be available in mid-September and due mid-December, 2009.
Contact Information: http://www.spacecamp.com/details.php?cat=Scholarships&program=Scholarships
3. Kids From Low-Income Households
The Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF) has the mission of giving parents a choice and children a chance concerning education. The fund provides partial tuition assistance for low-income families to send their children to private schools for grades K-8. Since its inception, more than 100,000 children have benefitted from these scholarships.
Qualifications: Eligible families must demonstrate their financial need as measured by standards similar to the Federal school lunch program, which takes into account family size. Children must be 5 years or older to receive scholarships.
Award(s): Scholarships for children for Kindergarten through 8th grade, awarded to all eligible children in a family to attend the school or schools of their choice. The amount of a scholarship is based upon a family's size and income and the tuition at the school the family chooses for their children. In 2009, the average CSF scholarship was $1,462.
Deadline: Varies depending on state.
Contact Information: http://www.scholarshipfund.org/index.asp
4. Academically Distinguished Students
To inspire children to achieve their fullest potential, spotlight high-ability students, and draw attention to the educational needs of our nation's gifted and talented students, The Nicholas Green Foundation offers NAGC-Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Awards. The awards are sponsored and administered by the National Association for Gifted Children.
Qualifications: Candidates should be students in grades 3 through 6 who have distinguished themselves in academics, leadership or the arts. Parents, teachers, students or community/civic groups may nominate eligible students.
Award(s): One $500 U.S. Savings Bond and an NAGC Certificate of Excellence are awarded to a student from each state.
Deadline: June 1. Individual state associations may have earlier deadlines, in some cases as early as January 1.
Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.