"For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for helping the elderly. Being raised by my great-grandparents for the majority of my childhood allowed me to see first-hand the issues that can take place as individuals age, and I in turn have gained a greater respect for the elderly population and plan to center my career around working with and helping them. Currently, I am a volunteer and intern with
Unity Hospice of Western Illinois, and there I spend time providing companionship with terminally ill patients, as well as help with marketing events held by the administrators of the agency. I believe this entry-level experience with the elderly population and terminally ill patients will prove to be beneficial towards my later career plans. After graduation, I plan to pursue the Illinois licensing exam for Nursing Home Administrators and gain employment and experience in a nursing home, assisted living or hospice community. I feel the elderly population are sometimes subjected to low quality of care and I hope to be in a head position where I will be allowed to make changes to ensure they are receiving the highest level of care possible. I have been through different trials and obstacles throughout my life, including moving often as a child, single-motherhood, and various financial obstacles. Being a full-time mom and a full-time student only leaves time for part-time work so money is always tight but we usually manage pretty well. I have learned to be very frugal and more responsible financially. I rely on grants, loans, and outside scholarships to finance my education. My initial graduation date was scheduled for May 2018, but I chose to add a certificate in “Leadership in Aging Services” which will better prepare
me for a leadership role working with the elderly population. I am hoping to be able to use this scholarship to help fund one last course that I need to take during the Fall 2018 semester which will then wrap up my undergraduate degree and certificate. Any consideration by the agency to help me on my final quest would be an honor, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be a recipient of the Community Service Block Grant Scholarship."

Sierra Davis

Northern Illinois University

Rehabilitation and Disability Services   

2018 CSBG Scholarship Recipients

Quasha Graves

Northern Illinois University

Elementary Education   

"“Why do you want to be a teacher?”, is a question all teacher candidates are asked during their undergraduate journey. Most will say because they absolutely love children. My response is always unique because I am one of the 20 percent in the making to become an educator of minority descent. Approximately, 80 percent of all educators in this country, United States of America, are of Anglo-
European descent. Studies have shown that if a minority child receives a teacher of their racial background, then he/she has a better chance of attaining a high school diploma. In this moment, I reflect on the educators I have had in my primary years of schooling and I can count on one hand the amount of black educators I have had. I want to become an educator because I want to serve as an
advocator and mentor for academically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students. Minority students come from backgrounds and familial environments different of their white counterparts. Some face living in single parent households, poverty, or dysfunctionality within the family. These issues are prevalent in minority families because I too have watched my mother attempt to take on the roles and responsibilities of both a mother and a father. Often, minority students do not have an adequate role model in the household or a healthy, supportive, and encouraging relationship with an adult. My dream is to be the
educator who guides my students into the direction they are more than capable of steering into, if provided the directions. I will pour into my students’ essential self-affirmations, knowledge, and appraisals. My students will walk into my classroom one way and leave every day feeling more confident, worthy, and powerful than they came.  As a primary school teacher to come, I will inform my students the importance of obtaining a degree; which is to have ownership of something that you have achieved and maintained that no one can confiscate and make into their own. My Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University will give me the opportunity to teach, engage, and interact with black and brown children. Children who often do not encounter educators who look like them, speak like them, and most of all, comprehend them.  With my degree, I can serve as a mentor to my students. With a similar background as theirs, I will show them that I am the hope and
the dream of a slave and they can be one too. With my degree, I can serve as an advocator for academically, culturally, and linguistically diverse students from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life.  My goal is to be a part of the less than twenty percent black educator population. My aim is to impact, support, and affirm all students of varying socio-economic backgrounds. My desire is to demonstrate how I turned my dream of becoming a black educator into my reality.  My aspiration is to share with my students the challenges I faced, endured, and surpassed to get the privilege to stand before them, letting them know that black lives, black teachers, and black degrees, indeed do matter! I believe I am a qualified candidate of the Community Service Block Grant Scholarship because of my resiliency, perseverance, and empowerment. A character trait I have always admired about myself is my dedication to never give up. I could have thrown in the towel countless times, but I know my future students need me to remain adaptable, courageous, and diligent."

Samuel Ogunbode

Northern Illinois University

Biological Sciences

"To take the challenge to become a doctor is not something that should be taken lightly. Amongst all the studying and test preparation comes the concern of financial aid during these long years. I have taken this challenge and have excelled so far, and I have no thoughts of slowing down until the final goal has been accomplished. This scholarship will not only aid me in my process of becoming a physician,
but provide the supplemental motivation that I need in order to continue in strong movement. Attacking these costs little by little will shift my focus from financial worries to strictly academic, social, and professional achievement. I will also avoid waiting to contribute to society, this will be done along the way towards my goal. I will continue volunteering in what I am involved in now, as well as find new
ways to benefit my community as a whole. I hope to be an inspiration to my society that others will look up to and want to work with and I will not be comfortable until this is achieved."

Executive Director Deanna Cada with Sierra.

Executive Director Deanna Cada with Samuel.