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Students Walk Miles for an Education

Dollars for ScholarsMany students, parents and members of the community aren’t sitting around waiting for scholarships to come to them. In fact, they’re walking for them. Dozens of students and community members from all over Southern California participated in the Dollars for Scholars 5K Walk for Education on Saturday, Oct. 17, to raise money for student scholarships.

“Everyone is being priced out of the college market, from low-income to middle-income families. The cost of education keeps going up. It’s harder and harder for students to get into colleges, and it’s taking them longer to graduate,” said Ann Worley, executive director of California Dollars for Scholars program. “The need for financial support is growing year by year, and scholarships are helping our students to succeed.”

The idea for Dollars for Scholars began with Irving Fradkin, who believed that if everyone in his hometown of Fall River, Mass., would give only $1, the community would have a sizeable scholarship program for its kids. Dollars for Scholars took off from there and has grown into the multi-program Scholarship America, the nation's largest private scholarship and educational support organization. Since 1958, Dollars for Scholars and its sister programs in Scholarship America have awarded more than $1 billion in scholarships to over a million students.

California Dollars for Scholars is a network of community-based scholarship groups. Each group raises money for their fund with assistance from the regional level, then determines how they want to support the community, which can range from focusing on assisting individual students, one high school or a school district.

“Dollars for Scholars lets students know that their hometown believes in them, that someone they don’t even know is helping to raise money for their future. In return, this process helps students believe in themselves more. It’s a win-win situation,” Worley said.

The event was kicked off by Catherine Graham, director of LMU's Financial Aid Office, who welcomed the participants to the university. The Financial Aid Office was responsible for coordinating the event. The L.A. Lakers cheerleaders then led warm-ups and signed autographs, which was followed by a drawing for prizes. “In addition to raising money, the purpose of the walk is to bring young students on campus and get them dreaming about attending college in the future,” Worley said.

The walk coincided with the memorial service of Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M., alumni chaplain at LMU, who passed away Oct. 6. Many from the LMU community felt hosting this event would be exactly what Sister Peg would have wanted.

“Sister Peg would be delighted that her work for scholarships was being continued, even in her absence. She was so eager to make God known and loved, and so convinced that an LMU education could offer this opportunity, that she was happy to expend herself in working for that goal,” said Frances Gussenhoven, R.S.H.M., assistant director of the Ignatian Spirituality Center at LMU.