PORTSMOUTH— Pitt’s Promise for Foster Youth has been working diligently in recent years to launch themselves as an established scholarship provider by forming the organization, running its business, organizing fundraisers, and are now ready to begin awarding scholarships for the first time.
The group has been working hard to spread awareness while raising funds, organizing a 5k, a plethora of pageants, and have accepted donations from various businesses. Recently, however, they took a large donation that made their earlier than expected launch possible.
“Recently, my old geometry teacher from tenth grade, while I was in Foster Care, Melissa Gibson, ran in an event where she was able to wear a charity bib for us,” Founder Anabelle Pitts explained. “She raised $5,000. So, that was really the big thing that pushed us over the limit and get going.”
Despite only now getting to a place to award scholarships, Pitts has raised luggage, thousands of care package items, Christmas gifts for the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program, and more.
“After all this work, being where we are now is a surreal feeling, honestly. I have so many emotions when it comes to this. I’m grateful and thankful and feel blessed,” Pitts said. “It feels so good to give back, but it is hard to put it into words. As I write announcements for social media, I get lost, because there is so much to say, but I feel so much more than that. I get teary-eyed. I am so thankful people believe in my mission and I’m so proud of myself and my team.”
Pitts said she tried to limit barriers on their scholarships, so there are few criteria. The grants are for students ages 18-26. There are two funds. One is a general fund for scholarships in any school. Another is limited to Portsmouth High School.
To apply, you must be a high school graduate or be a senior graduating the year of the application. You must be enrolled or enrolling in a minimum of six credit hours and be a current or former foster youth in or from Scioto County. You must be a Scioto County resident and have at least a 2.0 GPA.
Funds may also only be used for qualified expenses, including tuition and fees, books, housing, and course/degree related expenses. Scholarships may be used for vocational/trade schools, as well as community colleges and universities.
“One is for Portsmouth, where I graduated,” Pitts claimed. “I feel like, if I didn’t end up there, I wouldn’t have made it, because they really understood my struggle the most and really helped me when it came to what I needed to graduate. So, they have a very special place in my heart.”
Trojan graduates are eligible to apply for two $500 scholarships this year. There will also be a $1,000 scholarship from the general fund.
The application is now live and will remain open until the deadline of March 31. Students may apply at pittspromise.org. Follow Pitts Promise for Foster Youth on Facebook for more information and to stay updated on their events.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.