Be the Change Scholarship
An endowed scholarship was started at Grand Valley State University for students that have been affected by a parent who has served time in jail.
The "Be the Change" scholarship was created to let students know that their community supports and encourages them to acquire their degrees and make a difference in our communities.
Jennifer Deamud (GVSU Alumni 95’, 10’ and 15’) recognized the importance to create awareness of the need to support children whose parents have spent time through mentoring women getting ready to be released from jail through the “New Beginnings” program. Jennifer has mentored in this program for over three years. The program offered through the Women's Resource Center strives to reduce recidivism through access to a comprehensive program three months prior to their release.
Jennifer’s observations of the challenges faced by incarcerated mothers and their children were reinforced by the Annie E. May Casey Foundation’s report – “A SHARED SENTENCE the devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families, and communities.” The report indicates Michigan has the third highest percentage nationally of children with a parent who has been incarcerated, 1 in 10 kids impacted.
This number was alarming to Jennifer and her husband David. Together they created the “Be the Change” endowed scholarship to create awareness and help support these students who have been negatively affected by a parent serving time.
Make a Difference
“Be the Change” distributed the first scholarship to a GVSU student in the fall of 2018. The young lady who received the $1,500 scholarship is a first generation college student who has had both parents either serve time in jail or prison. The $1,500 scholarship is helping her stay in college to acquire a degree.
Jennifer and Dave are raising an additional $10,000 in 2018 to increase the endowment so it can distribute a $2,000 scholarship for the fall 2019 semester. Since this is an endowed scholarship, once the endowment is increased by $10,000 the scholarship will annually give out a $2,000 scholarship.
Please consider supporting first generation students who have financial need and have experienced having a parent serve time in jail or prison. Any contributions will help students!