Congratulations to our 2019 Boomer Benefits Scholarship winner, Rhonda Christlieb from Costa Mesa, California.
Through a life coach, and prayer, Rhonda decided to make the plunge and return to grad school. Rhonda returned to graduate school after a 21 year break. Her dream to become a social worker and help kids in need came to fruition through a layoff at her last job.
Rhonda received her BA in Social Ecology in 1996. Her initial goal was to obtain her Master’s as well, however, the need to pay down student loans hindered her from doing so. Since then, Rhonda has decided to return to school to earn her Master’s in Social Work and achieve her ultimate goal, “To work in the foster care system, providing safety and healing to children and their families in crisis.”
In 2015, after being laid off from her 11-year job, Rhonda decided to become a single foster mom and care for children in the foster system. She has cared for and loved three girls, one of who may become Rhonda’s adopted daughter. In addition to being a foster parent, Rhonda has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in the foster system, as well as leading her church’s children ministry.
Although Rhonda mostly helps children, her passion has lead her to help people of all ages and backgrounds. In less than a year, Rhonda put in over 500 hours as a hospice volunteer. As a hospice volunteer, Rhonda gained experience that will serve her well in her career in social work. This year, Rhonda will be interning in an organization that serves those who have been affected by domestic violence.
Rhonda plans to apply for a full-time position as a social worker in the field of child welfare upon receiving her Master’s. Rhonda is very deserving of this scholarship, and we wish nothing but happiness and success for her.
After much consideration, we have chosen our 2018 Boomer Benefits Scholarship winner! This year’s winner is Rebecca Carnahan from Gregory, Michigan.
Rebecca is pursuing a degree in Nursing at Lansing Community College with a concentration in senior care. Rebecca first decided to pursue a career in nursing after having taken care of both her father-in-law and mother-in-law when they were each diagnosed with cancer, one after another. During her first semester at LCC she was diagnosed with two different types of cancer herself. In spite of dealing with a life altering disease, Rebecca managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. She later went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude with an associates degree.
Having experienced it herself, Rebecca knows how much having a friendly caregiver can make times in the hospital bearable. Being able to provide patients with “a kind smile, a friendly gesture, a caring pause, and an attentive ear” is her main goal in life. She shows her caring heart through the many services she provides her community.
Rebecca’s volunteer work consists of feeding Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless at her local church, working a pajama and book drive for children in need, maintaining a serenity garden for a school that serves students with autism and cognitive impairments, and interacting with residents at the Silver Maples Assisted Living facility. In a letter we received from her supervisor at Silver Maples, it is said that Rebecca is loved by all the seniors who reside there. With all of these qualities combined, Rebecca undoubtedly has what it takes to become a nurse.
Rebecca was so honored to have been chosen as this year’s winner that she sent us a thank you letter. An excerpt from the letter is below:
I’m having a hard time putting into words how moved I am to have won this important scholarship. It reinforces and supports my mission to bring compassionate and joyful care into the institutions that nurture our seniors. It is clear to me that we share the belief that those who have given many years of contributions to this world, deserve the best care that we can give them. -Rebecca
Now that Rebecca is accepted into the nursing program and cancer-free, she is able to truly focus on her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.
Congratulations to John Bostwick from Cedar Falls, Iowa for being our 2017 fall scholarship winner!
John is pursuing a Fire and Emergency Management degree from Kaplan University, where he has a 4.0 grade average and is on the President’s list. He is the Fire Chief in Cedar Falls, and he hopes to inspire other firefighters that higher education is not out of reach with hard work and a solid goal.
In the late 1970’s, John struggled to attend school as a young firefighter working 24 hours on and 24 off. Once his children were born, they naturally became a priority and John’s dreams of a degree had to be set aside. What’s truly amazing is that in addition to raising his own two kids, John and his wife have fostered nearly 30 children since 1994, two of whom they eventually adopted as well. We find this to be selfless and admirable.
His other community service activities have involved being a school mentor, a Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts, a volunteer at the Miracle Burn Camp for burned children, and involvement with Juvenile Firesetter intervention.
In addition, he has initiated several programs to target seniors in his community for fire safety and to install smoke alarms in their homes. He has worked with the local senior center to develop a program using the city’s fire safety trailer to teach methods of evacuating in a fire situation. John has also written several grants for smoke alarms for seniors, including alarms with strobe lights and other technology for people hard of hearing who may not hear a traditional smoke alarm.
It’s very inspiring how John has used his passion for firefighting to do so much good for the people, and in particular children and the elderly, in his community.
Mayor of Cedar Falls Jim Brown, in a letter to our scholarship committee, praised John’s leadership ability and commended him for being likable, approachable and humble. This shined through in John’s personal essay and won the hearts of our scholarship committee. Congratulations John!
Our committee thanks everyone who applied for the fall 2017 scholarship. We had many worthy applicants, and are now looking forward to our new Spring 2018 scholarship applications.
Boomer Benefits is thrilled to announce that our 2016 scholarship recipient is Cheryl Sizer of Colfax, North Carolina.
Cheryl is pursuing a Master of Science in Physician Assistant so that she can serve her community as a gerontologist or general practitioner. A lifelong musician, Cheryl has had the honor of performing with U.S. Air Force Academy Band all over the nation, and is now following a new calling to serve others in the medical field. She has spent the last four years as a Certified Nursing Assistant as well as volunteer for a local Hospice and Palliative care facility in Greensboro.
Having been a caregiver for members of her own family, she truly understands the nature of giving to and caring for the elderly. Her compassion for those nearing end of life brought her to the realization that she has an affinity for patients in memory care. What is most interesting is how she has used her musical ability to bring comfort and peace to the geriatric patients she has cared for. She exemplifies the spirit of our scholarship in both her volunteer service and the degree she is pursuing.
We wish her all the best in pursuing her dreams and are confident she will do much good to her patients in her dream job as a Physician Assistant.
Our scholarship committee appreciates everyone who submitted an application for this award. There were many truly amazing people who applied, and we know they too will go on to achieve great things.
Our agency is so pleased to announce the 2015 award winner for our annual Boomer Benefits Scholarship. Our committee reviewed many applications from deserving students around the country, and it was quite a challenge to choose a winner from so many great candidates.
Our 2015 scholarship has been awarded to Timoteo Saldana Honesto of Findlay, Ohio.
Timoteo is pursuing a Bachelors degree from Arizona State University, where he will major in American Indian studies. He himself is of the Mescalero Apache heritage, and he hopes to one day teach Apache history and culture to young adults.
Earlier in life, Tim had attended Ohio State University for two years but family needs got in the way and he was not able to complete his degree. He then worked as a cashier and clerk for Meijer, Inc for nearly 30 years.
Now he is returning to school as an older student, and has recently earned his Associate’s Degree from Owens Community College. Both a professor and the student activities director wrote letters on his behalf praising him for his advocacy in the student body and his volunteer work for the USO.
What stood out about Tim in his application was the determination he displayed in being involved with student government. He participated in the Rotaract Club, the Student-Faculty Relations Club (STUFAR) and the Owens Findlay campus advisory group while also displaying academic excellence. He was in the Owens Honors program and also became a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Though he is a non-traditional student in the sense that he is a Baby Boomer returning to school, he did not let that stop him from being actively involved in so many aspects of campus life.
We wish Tim the best of luck in pursuing his degree, and his dream to go on to graduate work at the University of Arizona.
Our scholarship committee offers heartfelt thanks to all the many applicants who turned in applications for our annual scholarship. We love to see how many Baby Boomers return to school later in life to find fulfilling future careers.
Boomer Benefits is pleased to announce the 2014 winner of our Boomer Benefits Scholarship. Our committee reviewed nearly 50 applications from students across the nation, and there were many, many deserving candidates.
Our scholarship has been awarded to Mark Van Wagoner of Highland, Utah.
Mark Van Wagoner is a full-time teacher for students at an At-Risk school, where he teaches a landscape, horticulture and gardening curriculum to youth to help them develop hands-on skills of sustainability and improve their self-confidence. He was instrumental in the creation of the Horticulture program at the school.
What is most impressive about Mark is the way in which he has used his life’s passion to give back to his community. He has dedicated time to teaching adults, including seniors, a community education gardening course in which people can discover the satisfaction that comes from working with soil and plants.
He judges entries in the Horticulture division of the Salt Lake County and Utah County fairs. As part of a city tree committee, he worked with city leaders and residents to organize a beautification program. He also writes a gardening column for his local newspaper. Mark hopes to one day take his knowledge to third world countries where he can teach people how to grow and preserve their own food.
Mark and his wife have dedicated much of their lives to raising their 5 children, and now he has the opportunity to further his own education. Our scholarship will assist Mark in pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Utah State University so that he achieve his dream of teaching at the university level. We love that he has a desire to learn and grow in a field in which he already gives so much back to his community.
The scholarship committee at Boomer Benefits thanks all the many applicants for such outstanding entries. It is wonderful to see how many Baby Boomers are returning to school to pursue their degrees.
About Our Scholarship:
This award is a $1000 Scholarship for an outstanding college student age 50 or older who has returned to school later in life to further his or her education. Selection criteria included academic performance, letters of recommendation, an essay, and particularly a record of volunteer service that demonstrates a commitment to helping others.
The application period for the 2020 Boomer Benefits Scholarship will commence early next year and will be announced on this website. As our agency grows, we hope to increase the number of scholarships offered to deserving adult students in future years.