So I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for scholarship news. So here it is!
A few weeks ago, Mr. Joseph Allegretti agreed to fund a full-ride scholarship (4 years, tuition, room and board at the University of Portland) for a student who grew up in the NPFS orphanage in Haiti.
Yup. It's happening.
But apparently finding funding is the easy part (Mr. Allegretti is also approaching a friend to see if he would be interested in funding a second student- so keep that in your thoughts & prayers!) because now the real work begins.
The University of Portland has been nothing if not enthusiastic and collaborative. I've been in contact with everyone from admissions to financial aid to the office for International Students and besides agreeing to waive the admissions fees and extend application dates, they are now in talks about admissions requirements such as the TOEFL exam and Visa requirements. Basically, UP has shown me time and time again that they deserve my constant loyalty and support. I'm pretty sure they could ask me for anything at this point and I would try to grant any requests.
But while preparations are being made for a student's arrival, it's the other end of the process that is proving difficult. Basically, now I need to find someone. Someone who grew up in the home, finished High School, speaks good English, and wants to leave Haiti for four years to study in the States (and is preferably female). Easier said than done. I'm hoping that NPFS will aid me in recruiting, but it will probably come down to doing interviews and helping the candidate(s) fill out their applications when I arrive in December. Not to mention the fact that unless I get some outside fundraising in, NPFS will probably have to support them through their testing, visa process, and a stipend while they are in the States.
The trial-run of any program is always full of questions and struggles, but my biggest fear keeps nagging at the back of my mind- What if I can't find anybody?!? At first I didn't even entertain this seemingly improbable thought, but it's becoming more and more of a concern. I don't want to disappoint the donor, the University of Portland, or myself. So send some good thoughts my way and hopefully the right person will come along!
I'm sure we'll find the perfect student, and educated people coming home to help rebuild is exactly what Haiti needs. So if this scholarship works, and especially if it becomes a sustainable program for multiple years, I may just faint from excitement.