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The Uncommon Friends Foundation is accepting applications for a variety of scholarship opportunities

February 11, 2019
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Students on the track to further their academic careers in Lee County and beyond can find some financial aid via an uncommon source.

Applications are now open for scholarship opportunities for students graduating in the 2019-2020 school year from The Uncommon Friends Foundation.

"Our founders philosophy was to have 'uncommon' scholarships, not just for the 'star' high school student with a top GPA," said Jennifer Nelson, executive director of the foundation, as well as Cape Coral District 4 council member.

Application deadlines are April, 1, and nominees must reside in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades or Hendry counties, need financial assistance, excel in school and/or their personal lives and possess high quality character traits.

There are a myriad of scholarships in different denominations and length, as well as requirements.

Scholarships are as follows:

* Cape Coral Kiwanis Club ($2,500) for any two disadvantaged students of any age to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs at any educational institution.

* Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Hospitality Scholarship ($1,000) for any age student seeking an education and/or career in the hospitality industry to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs,

* HomeTech ($2,000) for any age student to help defray the costs of tuition, books and supplies to attend a trade school.

* Jared Basco Pay It Forward Scholarship For any age student pursuing any career who demonstrates generosity through activities such as community service, financial giving or volunteerism that has impacted his or her life, and from which others may benefit.

* Smith Family Trust Bonita Springs Charter School Scholarship ($1,000) For students from Bonita Springs Charter School who demonstrate strong character and ethics in their everyday life.

* Valerie's House Scholarship for a Grieving Child Two $1,000 Scholarships For any age student who has lost a parent or sibling and participates in Valerie's House's grief support programs to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs.

* Waste Pro Scholarship ($1,000) for any age student to help defray the cost of tuition, books and supplies to attend a trade school.

* Berne Davis Future Teacher Scholarship ($5,000) For a student enrolled in a program leading to a degree in education.

* James F. Chelius, Jr. Scholarship for Disabled Students ($1,000) For any age student with a disability such as dyslexia, hearing, sight, physical, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy who has ambition and positive character traits.

* Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarship Covers two years of state college tuition and fees for a freshman or sophomore who meets specific conditions and stays free of drugs and crime.

* Health Sciences Scholarship ($1,000) For any age student working toward a degree in a health field, (e.g., nursing, dental hygiene, technologist, or therapist) to help defray cost of books or education.

* Hilliard Scholarships ($4,000) Two, two-year scholarships for high school seniors residing in either Glades or Hendry Counties to attend FGCU.

* Single Parent Scholarship ($1,000) For a deserving single parent who has overcome difficult obstacles to further his or her education and gain skills to enter the workforce.

* Special Recognition Scholarship Three scholarships for any age student to help defray cost of books or education for one semester.

* Technical College Scholarship For any age student to help defray costs of tuition, books and supplies at a technical college.

* Veteran's Scholarship ($1,000) For a deserving military veteran of any age to help defray costs of books or education.

A focus of these scholarships involve students who want to learn a trade, said Nelson, as the need for workforce development is Florida is always in-demand.

"It's important to us that we invest in our community, region and people," Nelson said. "Some people just need a hand up, and that's what these scholarships are intended to do."

She even noted that many local organizations involved in a trade give the foundation funds to set up scholarships to, in turn, support the future of that trade.

"Organizations invest in us to honor their trade, that's what can be so unique about our scholarships," said Nelson.

The scholarships do not discriminate by age, but by needs and qualifications.

A recipient of a scholarship in the past, Jared Basco, is thankful for the opportunities that have been granted to him thanks to The Uncommon Friends Foundation, that he has been giving back month after month to have a fund set up in his name to be given to a deserving student.

Basco was a Bishop Verot student and his counselor recommended him for the scholarship.

Nelson said he is so grateful for how much the foundation changed his life, saying that it "helped me out so much."

Visit: for scholarship application forms and specific requirements of each scholarship. Completed applications and/or any questions should be directed to

Winners will be announced by early summer and will be honored at the Uncommon Friends Foundation's Uncommon Evening on Thursday, Nov. 14.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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