The Evelyn Cooke Dream Big ACHIEVE Award & Program
In 2015, 1 month after graduating college from Howard University with a BBA in Marketing DEBT-FREE, I decided to use my signing bonus from my full-time job offer to award my very own scholarship award in the amount of $1000. I knew that it took a MIRACLE and a ton of supporters to achieve this as a young black woman growing up in an under served area. I also saw so many of my peers from back home that were not so lucky to have such support to and THROUGH college ultimately return home without a degree or take on enormous amounts of debt.
To date I have been able to invest over $9,000 in AMAZING young black and latinx scholars and welcome them to my peer mentoring family under the EC Dream Big Scholarship program. In this family our growing group works hard to provide students with the tips and tools needed to prepare and survive college and follow their dreams! Since 2018 I have also partnered with Staten Island ACHIEVE Dollars for Scholars to MATCH donations so each dollar raised can be DOUBLED for our awardees.
Help me pay it forward and help us reach our dreams!
About The Program
In addition to financial support, this award centers around what I call my peer mentoring circle, consisting of selected mentors and all award recipients. We meet a minimum of twice a year (meeting and connecting during both summer and winter breaks) where all involved help to increase the potential of successful college matriculation for scholars.
With this unique model of peer mentoring, we are able to ensure not only that incoming freshmen will be able to learn and ask the real questions about college, but as we continue to grow, more scholars will have a network of mentors to lean on that share their Staten Island background and all different stages of their careers.
MEET SOME OF MY SCHOLARS
“The Dream Big Award helped me start my college career on a high note! The fact that I was acknowledged for the work that I did in high school motivated me to further my studies. This award helped me lift the burden of paying for my college textbooks and I am extremely grateful: not only [for the] award, but the doors that opened because of it. I now know that I have someone like Evelyn in my corner to turn to for help! I want to help inspire more girls who were just like me, girls who thought they would never get a scholarship to “dream big!” Over the next 3 years I have goals that I need to accomplish. With the help of Evelyn, she has introduced me to a few people who are in the same career field that I am seeking to enter. With my hard work and perseverance, I will become the product marketing manager at Google headquarters in California!
– Awa Doumbia 2017 Scholar
“My name is Aishat Oloyede and I am a third year human biology major at the University at Albany with future plans of becoming a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Being a first generation college student, this scholarship helped me transition better into college, by covering last minute expenses and just overall reducing some stress that comes with moving into an unfamiliar setting.”
– Aishat Oloyede 2015 Scholar
“The Evelyn Cooke Dream Big Award was the difference between me dreaming of what I’ve always wanted and what I’ve always wanted becoming what I now have so that I will be able to follow my dreams. Ms.Cooke was able to stand as a figurehead for African American women and the importance of giving us an opportunity. Personally, she even showed me the importance of supporting my heritage in ways such as looking into historically black colleges or universities (HBCU’s) as well as supporting black owned companies and products. Being exposed to all of which has allowed me to become much more diverse as an individual and more aware of how important it is to share common knowledge with peers and loved ones. As of January 2018, I am a sophomore at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, a HBCU. I am an English major with a minor in Spanish. In my time here I have ensured to not only maintain a 4.0 GPA but also be very active on campus. I am a member of the criminal justice association, pre law society, political science association and more. Not only have I participated in academic organizations but I also found my way into employment and internship opportunities in addition to becoming a member of the first traditionally African American Greek Letter sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. The employment opportunities that I have been given include working as a Student Support Services Tutor and as a receptionist at my school’s metropolitan office. My future goals include completing my undergraduate degree then attending Brooklyn Law School. I plan to study corporate law and someday own my own firm.”
– Lauren Herring 2016 Scholar
Our program has been blessed to partner with Staten Island ACHIEVE Dollars for Scholars (SI ACHIEVE), a chapter of Scholarship America. With this partnership, all funds raised will be MATCHED (up to $5,000) by SI ACHIEVE, opening up the potential to multiply this award to potentially $10,000 a year!
Last year we were able to raise $2,500 which meant $5,000 in the hands of our awardees. This year, I have hope that we can make even MORE impact with YOUR help!
This year we have a $5,000 goal to reach by the end of February to lead to a grand total of $10,000 in awards. While this may seem like an ambitious goal, we know with your support, we will be able to get closer to making this dream a reality so we may help even more students get to and THROUGH college!
HELP US MEET OUR $5,000 GOAL!
*A local chapter of Scholarship America’s Dollar for Scholars program, Staten Island ACHIEVE is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that provides four-year scholarships and proactive mentoring to graduating Staten Island high school students. Since 2005, we have awarded nearly $925,000 to approximately 110 students, with a retention rate of nearly 90%. Our scholarships are both need- and merit-based and are awarded to students in several categories. Learn more at www.statenislandachieve.
*Dollars for Scholars®, a program of Scholarship America, is a national network of nearly 500 local chapters, driven by local volunteers that help hometown students in communities across the country. In addition to raising and distributing over $600 million in scholarships since 1958, chapters also provide assistance with college readiness and the financial aid process.
*Scholarship America® mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed more than $4 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 2.4 million students, funding both entry-level and multi-year scholarships and emergency financial grants. More information is available at www.scholarshipamerica.org.