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2013 End of Year Appeal

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for the part you played in helping us to improve the lives of some 500 children, one by one, this past year.  Your generosity to the Tri-County Scholarship Fund enabled us to significantly raise the scholarship amounts we gave to students in grades K-12 in Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties.

How does your donation help our students?  Let me introduce you to Tecianna Ross.  Tecianna is a former Tri-County Scholar who is currently a senior at Montclair State University.  Tecianna captivated the minds and hearts of all who were present at our annual awards dinner three weeks ago with her moving testimony, part of which we share below:

“I would like to thank all of you here for the opportunity I was given.  As the daughter of a single parent I could never have afforded the education that was given to me.  My father was not present when I was growing up so the weight of raising and supporting two children fell onto my mother’s shoulders.  She worked two jobs to support my sister and me.  I am and will always be eternally grateful for the sacrifices she made for us.

There are many other kids out there that are in the same situation that I once was in.  Many of them have amazing potential that goes unnoticed because they have no other choice but to attend failing inner city schools.  I strongly urge all of you – the trustees, dinner committee members and many friends of Tri-County – to continue working on behalf of the kids because the opportunity that is offered by this organization changed the trajectory of my life.  It is truly a blessing.

I want to use the education, wisdom, and experience that I have acquired to change as many lives as I possibly can.  On campus, I serve as a Community Assistant in Sinatra residence hall.  Here, I am responsible for making sure that there is a sense of community so others know that they are not alone.  I host different events in the building, where residents can come

and enjoy themselves while getting to know their neighbors.  I am a member of Active Minds, a national organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking.

I also volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician at Elmwood Park Ambulance Corp.  This enables me to donate my time and service while gaining exposure to emergency medicine.  After receiving my Bachelors in Public Health, I will attend nursing school and then pursue a Masters in Nursing with a specialization in Emergency Medicine.  Upon completion of my education, I hope to work in an urban area because that is where medical professionals are needed most.  That is how I hope to give back.”

Tecianna is part of the “fruit” of your generosity.  Because she succeeded in high school, colleges opened their doors, and their scholarships, to her.  But without a Tri-County scholarship, she would never have had the four formative years at Paterson Catholic High School that prepared her so well.

Speaking of colleges, in the past three years, eight of our Tri-County scholars have received full tuition scholarships to Colgate, Cornell, Villanova, Rutgers College of Engineering (2), Georgetown, UCLA and Notre Dame!  Many others who wish (or need) to remain closer to home, have received significant scholarships to Seton Hall, The College of St. Elizabeth, Montclair State, William Paterson, Fairleigh Dickinson and Caldwell College, among others.

When you realize the costs of the average private school ($11,000 for high school and $5,000 for grade school), and then compute that our typical profile is a single parent of three making $27,000/year, you get an insight into how critical these scholarships really are!  Your help is a game-changer and a life-saver.

The second young woman who spoke at our awards dinner is from Paterson, New Jersey.  She, too, is the daughter of a single parent and a senior at De Paul Catholic High school in Wayne, NJ.  Let me introduce you to Alessandra Veliz as she speaks about the difference that a great school makes:

“De Paul taught me to try harder and push myself.  I found my passion and I challenged myself until I stopped being afraid to fail.  I find myself now dreaming of attending one of the best universities in this country and working hard towards that goal.  I’ve changed.  I know what I’ve been called to do.  I want to be a writer and a filmmaker.  I want to inspire millions and touch

hearts.  More than that, I want to come back to this dinner one day to show you that your support can mean so much even when young students don’t realize it.  I have high aspirations.  I know I’m only 16.  However, when this many people show so much support, kids like me can’t help but dream big.  I want to make it.  I want to be successful.

I live across the street from one of the main public high schools in Paterson and there are days when I run into the kids I knew in elementary school.  Some of them have chosen not to go to college because they don’t see the point.  Others are hanging out with the wrong crowds to escape trouble at home and ruining their futures before their lives have really started.  I see a lot of lost potential, and dreams that are abandoned because of a need for support that wasn’t there for them.

I can stand here and tell you that my story is special, but the fact is that, thanks to your help, a lot of young men and women with similar stories of struggle have the potential to do great things now.  Your generosity not only inspires me to be different, but to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”

As we approach the season of giving, I’m asking if you would consider a tax-deductible gift of $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more to provide our students with a values-based education in a safe environment (see enclosed flyer).  By doing so, you will lift a child out of the cycle of poverty and open the door of opportunity for young people who would otherwise abandon their dreams.

In 2013 we helped almost 500 students; in 2014 we’d like to help many more!  Please do whatever you can to be part of the solution.  You may donate online by clicking here if that’s more convenient for you.

Let me close with the words of Tecianna: “I look forward one day, to coming back and paying it forward for the next wave of kids who need nothing more than a hand reaching out to them to let them know that nothing can stop them from pursuing their dreams.  Thank you!”

On behalf of Tecianna, Alessandra and the hundreds of other students you have helped, I thank you too!

Gregory Floyd



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