Nearly 200 youth volunteers awarded $1,000 scholarships and qualify for $10,000 in total scholarships through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program.
Today, the Kohl’s Department Stores’ (NYSE: KSS) Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program honors nearly 200 deserving volunteers with $1,000 scholarships toward higher education. Seven youths from the Chicago-area were chosen from more than 37,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in their local communities.
“Kohl’s is proud to recognize the 182 regional winners nationwide for their dedication to making their communities a better place to live,” said Bevin Bailis, Kohl’s senior vice president, communications and public relations. “We commend these bright volunteers for being inspiring examples for others as they have made a difference in their own communities and touched the lives of others through their efforts.”
Local recipients of $1,000 scholarships are:
Carter Cumbey, 10, Oswego, Illinois
Through his nonprofit organization SMART2bfit, Carter planned and organized a SMART Walk for Water and Garden to educate participants on water scarcity and how children in Africa walk for miles to obtain fresh water for their families. Walkers engaged in interactive learning stations and raised funds to build a water catchment tank for a school in Kenya.
Bridget Gallagher, 11, Chicago, Illinois
In honor of her sister with Down Syndrome, Bridget hosts an annual Lemonade for Misericordia event to raise funds for Misericordia, a residential community of care for persons with developmental disabilities. To date, Bridget’s annual efforts have raised more than $46,000 for the organization.
Delaney Gibbons, 15, Naperville, Illinois
After the wife of a beloved teacher was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Delaney and a classmate organized the Dodgin’ 4 Lou Gehrig’s Disease Dodge Ball Tournament to raise funds for the Les Turner ALS Foundation. To date, the Tournament has raised more than $42,000 to help support the cause.
Ryan Hesslau, 18, Mokena, Illinois
In an effort to stand up against bullying, Ryan created foreverU, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of bullying and its emotional effects among teens. Ryan has grown foreverU into a teen volunteer operation that maintains a website, and social media and blog presence. Ryan also participates in anti-bullying speaking opportunities at schools.
Conor Laughlin, 11, Elmhurst, Illinois
After Conor and his family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago while his brother Aidan was receiving medical treatment, he was driven to give back to the organization by serving meals to families staying at the house. Conor plans and shops for the meals they cook, as well as helps prepare and serve the home-cooked meals to the families.
Varun Medhal, 18, Lake Forest, Illinois
After witnessing hunger and poverty on a trip to India, Varun created Unseen Cuisine, an organization that redirects food that would normally be thrown away by restaurants and markets to the homeless and those in need. Varun organized partnerships between local restaurants and markets that, to date, have donated 10,000 food items to shelters in the Chicago-land area.
Omer Raza, 18, Lombard, Illinois
A desire to give back to the community motivated Omer to be an integral part of his senior class service project. Some of his volunteer efforts included helping senior citizens with yard work, assisting at a food pantry, cooking for the Ronald McDonald House and demonstrating science experiments to students at a local elementary school.
Winners are chosen based on initiative, leadership, generosity and project benefits and outcome. Each regional-level winner qualifies for one of Kohl’s 10 national scholarships, which will be announced at the end of July. National winners will each receive a total of $10,000 in scholarships, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf. In total, Kohl’s will recognize more than 2,300 young volunteers with nearly $400,000 in scholarships and prizes.
Since the program began in 2001, Kohl’s has recognized more than 22,000 kids, including the 2014 winners, with more than $4.3 million in scholarships and prizes. The Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program is part of Kohl’s Cares®, Kohl’s philanthropic program focused on improving the lives of children. For more information on the Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program visit kohlskids.com.