When I was down in Orlando for the Children with Diabetes conference, I bumped into a booth for something called the Diabetes Scholars Foundation, and chatted with its president Mary Podjasek, a wife and mother to two with type 1 diabetes. Never heard of this foundation? Well, if you're the parent of a future college student who's living with diabetes, take note! The Diabetes Scholars Foundation has awarded over $300,000 to incoming freshman with diabetes in just the last two years.
The Diabetes Scholars Foundation was founded in 2004 by a group of parents as a way to financially support families interested in diabetes education. So far, they have awarded over 150 scholarships to attend the Friends for Life and regional Children with Diabetes conferences. In 2008, they branched out by becoming the only foundation in the country that funds college scholarships for students with diabetes. Last year more than 650 students from 49 states and the District of Columbia sent in applications.
Each year, the foundation awards scholarships in the amounts of $5,000 and $1,000 to students who qualify. The base requirements to apply are pretty simple, but they are strict:
* Must be an incoming college freshman
* Must have type 1 diabetes
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* Must reside in the United States
Then, for the selection process, students need to demonstrate that they have:
1) contributed to diabetes research or advocacy through fundraising efforts, volunteering, public speaking, etc.,
2) demonstrated exemplary academic performance and participates in community or extra curricular activities or sports.
3) and submit an essay and a letter of recommendation from their endocrinologist or diabetes educator about their BG management.
Thankfully, their actual A1C is not a score that applicants need to send!
Full details of the scholarship requirements are listed at the Diabetes Scholars Foundation website.
"Our founders' goal was that — in this one small area of life — diabetes could be an advantage," says President Mary Podjasek.
The Diabetes Scholars Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and is fully funded by donations from corporations and individuals. If you want to financially support the college education of a student with diabetes, you can make a tax deductible donation. Applications for the 2011/2012 school year will be online in January.
If you're not thinking about funding a college education, but instead are thinking about your own diabetes education, scholarships are available to families and young adults to attend the Friends for Life conference. More details about that can also be found on the Foundation's website. Go scholars!
(btw, in case you need some help getting there, eHow.com offers a 7-step process on how to be a scholar)