Clark State Foundation kicks off scholarship fundraiser

This month, you can enjoy fall colors, the brisk October air, and the opportunity to get outdoors while positively affecting the lives of local students in need.

Clark State Community College is hosting "Going the Distance for Clark State Scholarships," a virtual walk/run event that continues through Oct. 31.

“It is Clark State’s first time hosting a virtual walk/run event,” says Toni Overholser, director of the Clark State Foundation. “We’re excited to add a fun event the entire family can participate in, while raising money for student scholarships. October is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the fall fresh air.”

The Clark State Foundation supports individual and community enrichment by removing financial barriers and increasing college success through educational and cultural programs. Removing financial barriers for students helps ensure a high-quality college education is accessible to all residents of the area.

“The pandemic has impacted our low income and minority students at a disproportionately high rate,” Overholser says. “We have seen an increased need for scholarship support. Any donation is appreciated, and it will help our students achieve their dream of a better future.”

Student applications and requests for scholarship support have increased dramatically this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scholarship recipient and first-generation college student Morgan Bowman, of Urbana, is enrolled in the Clark State Registered Nursing program; she will also obtain a transfer associate of applied science degree.

“When I first became a Clark State student, I was working full-time in management at Navistar,” Bowman says. “I never had a desire to go to college or into the medical field until I adopted my son.”

Bowman’s son was born prematurely at 26 weeks and continues to have medical concerns. Having to leave her well-paying job to care for her son, Bowman says she thought her “journey with school” was over – until she applied for Clark State scholarships.

“Because of the scholarships I was awarded, I was able to stay in school,” says Bowman, whose ultimate goal is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner or a medical doctor.

She received three more Clark State scholarships for fall semester, which she says has kept her in her classes and fueled her determination.

“If they are willing to help us that much, then I am putting 110 percent into my school,” says Bowman, who earned As on her first two exams this semester. “If the Foundation Scholarship program is going to support us, I’m going to ensure they get a good return on their investment.”

Overholser says the walk/run is the Foundation’s way of offering a fun event to support students.

“Since we can’t gather in large numbers, we decided to host it virtually,” she says. “This gives people time to participate – on their own schedule – throughout the month.”

Each fundraiser participant will receive a Clark State Champion T-shirt and a pair of Clark State socks. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fundraisers. To participate, visit www.justgiving.com\campaign\clarkstate and set up an account.

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

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