May 24, 2013
SIU awards initial Boys & Girls Club scholarships
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two high-achieving members of Chicago’s Union League Boys & Girls Clubs are the inaugural recipients of two full, four-year scholarships to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Brandon Molina, 18, of Chicago, who is graduating from Chicago Bulls College Prep in June, and David Torres, 20, of Maywood, a freshman in exercise science at SIU Carbondale, are the scholarship recipients.
“This is a wonderful partnership that creates opportunities for high-achieving students,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “Brandon and David have demonstrated a strong commitment to their education and to serving others, and we are pleased to have them as part of the Saluki family.”
The University established the two scholarships last year. They cover in-state tuition, fees, room, board and books once financial aid is applied to the students’ account. The scholarship is renewable each semester of the recipients’ four-year undergraduate program provided the student remains in good academic standing.
Youth of the Year winners from Midwest Region Boys & Girls Clubs will remain eligible for the scholarships until they turn 19, as long as they remain active in their clubs.
Molina plans to major in business and fire service management at SIU Carbondale. His activities include earning honor roll recognition throughout high school, and participating in varsity basketball and baseball. He is a class leader in his U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC program, and performed more than 450 community service hours. He also earned Youth of the Year honors for the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs. He is a member of the Union League Boys and Girls Club Two.
Torres, a 2012 graduate of Golder College Prep in Chicago, earned Union League Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year honors in 2012, and earned honor roll recognition throughout high school. He is an alumni of the Barreto Boys and Girls Club in Humboldt Park.
Molina and Torres were heavily involved in numerous leadership and recreational programs with their respective Boys and Girls Clubs.
“It’s amazing opportunities like these scholarships to Southern Illinois University Carbondale that help make a difference and make a huge impact for all of our Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Mary Ann Mahon Huels, executive director of the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs.
Randy Osborn, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale, helped spearhead efforts in establishing the scholarships. The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale is one of the local non-profit organizations served by the University’s Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism. The club is the only one south of Interstate 64, and has 470 students between six and 18 years old.
“The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to serve ‘those who need us most.’ What many Club members need is an opportunity to access higher education. These Southern Illinois University scholarships provide that chance for young people to change their lives,” said Osborn.
Osborn noted the chancellor’s commitment to the scholarship program for a minimum of five years, and hopes “this will be successful in ways that will make a more permanent arrangement, successful to the University, and the young people who need college opportunities like this.”
“We are hoping to build on the opportunity SIU initiated to generate a model for every state in the country” Osborn said.
Each of the 71 Boys and Girls Club sites in Illinois selects a Youth of the Year, who competes for Youth of the Year at the state level. The Illinois winner then competes with nominees from 12 other states for Midwest Youth of the Year honors.
Established in 1947 by the National Boys and Girls Clubs, the Youth of the Year program celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. All Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year candidates from Illinois and the Midwest Regional Clubs are eligible to apply for the SIU Carbondale scholarships.