An endowed scholarship was started at Grand Valley State University the summer of 2016 for students that of been affected by a parent who has served time in jail.
The scholarship is called "Be the Change," signifying that each of us can make a positive change for students who might not have a support system in place to encourage them to pursue higher education. The same students may not have the financial resources to attend college. "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 in jail after she spent a year mentoring women getting ready to be released from jail through the “New Beginnings” program. 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 indicated Michigan has 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.
We hope you will consider supporting the youth in our communities that want to “Be the Change.”