Avion Silas, class of 2020, was in the foster care system until he aged out at eighteen-years-old. As a foster care age-out, Avion will use his experiences and education to make a difference in the lives of students like him.
Avion always wanted to go to Grand Valley, but being in the foster care system and moving states made it difficult for him. He applied for over sixty scholarships and finally found one tailor-made for his needs.
After his first year at Grand Valley, Avion received the Alison McManus Walters '73 Fostering Success Scholarship. He has since been able to take a full class load, continued as a student worker in the Financial Aid Office, and be an active member of his fraternity. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship,” says Avion.
When Avion met his donor, Alison McManus Walters ’73, he found that they share similar values in the support of students in need. Alison has been a teacher and administrator in communities across Michigan. She met students like Avion and saw that the need was there. Her daughter is also a foster care parent. After hearing her story, Avion felt an immediate bond.
“Being a foster care age-out,” says Avion, “it is good to know that there are people in the world that really want the best for you, and receiving this scholarship has restored my faith in people’s generosity.”
Avion wants his Laker Effect to be for the same success that he has had to be experienced by the students who come after him. He wants other students to understand that, no matter what your background, you can have a huge impact on the world. “When I give back,” Avion says, “I’d like that impact to be just as big as my donor’s impact on my life.”
Thanks to the support of his donors, Avion has access to the numerous opportunities that Grand Valley has to offer. Avion says, “college can be the hardest years of peoples’ lives, but they are the most rewarding if you have support.”