But when I was a teen, I liked to volunteer at the front desk of the local children’s hospital.
One summer I went to South Africa to expand after-school programs. I even took a college semester off to ride around the country, educating students about child soldiers and the civil war taking place in Uganda.
To say I’m passionate about community service and social justice might be an understatement.
But I didn’t climb out of my crib with a fire for inciting social change. I started volunteering because I needed scholarships.
Apply for These 12 Community Service Scholarships
Scholarship programs are a great way to introduce young people to life outside their social media-sized bubbles. I’ve kept the professional experiences and compassion I gained volunteering throughout my adult life.
You can make a real impact investing in your community through organizations that serve marginalized people, further the arts or contribute to whatever other cause lights you up. And here are some scholarships that will reward you for it.
1. DoSomething.org Campaign Scholarship
Every month, DoSomething.org runs “campaigns,” such as sharing ways to combat bullying or a digital guide on identifying abuse. You can participate in one or all of them and win up to $12,000.
There’s no essay, application or GPA requirement. You just have to be between 13 and 25 years old. And if you’re not in college when you win, the organization will hold on to your prize until you head to college.
The deadlines occur monthly.
2. Princeton Prize in Race Relations
This cash prize of $1,000 is awarded to students in grades 9-12 who’ve used community service to significantly encourage positive race relations during the past 12 months.
Winners also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Princeton University for its symposium on race. One prize is awarded in each of the 27 regions in which the organization operates.
The deadline is annually in January.
3. Jesse Brown Scholarship
Students 21 and under who have done at least 100 hours of community service serving veterans at a VA medical center can apply for these awards. There is one top scholarship of $20,000, as well as additional scholarships of $15,000, $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000.
The deadline is annually in February.
4. The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship
This $8,000 award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund was originally created to help African-American students integrate into formerly segregated schools in the South and to increase their presence in the legal profession.
Any undergraduate student showing financial need, academic achievement and a commitment to public service is eligible to apply.
The award is distributed in $2,000 increments every year contingent upon the student maintaining good academic standing and maintaining scholarship criteria.
The deadline is April 1 annually.
5. Michael Crossland Humanitarian Scholarship
The Golden Key International Honour Society awards its members around the world multiple scholarships, but this $1,000 award is specifically for U.S. students who serve children in need through breaking down barriers in education, sports or assisting families in need.
If you win the scholarship, you’ll also join Michael Crossland and his organization, Frontier Project, on an all-expenses paid humanitarian trip to Haiti.
The deadline is annually in April.
6. The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
Each year the Barron Prize honors 15 young leaders, ages 8 to 18, who’ve made a significant positive impact to people and the environment.
Students must reside in the U.S. or Canada and be currently working on an inspiring service project, or have done so in the most recent 12 months to be eligible for this $5,000 award
The deadline is April 15 each year.
7. Caring Award
The Caring Institute, a nonprofit inspired by the legacy of Mother Teresa, awards five high-school students a $2,000 scholarship and honors them at its annual Caring Awards Gala.
Students must be nominated before they turn 18 or before they graduate from high school.
The deadline is in April annually.
8. Chely Wright LIKEME Scholarship
LIKEME is an organization that provides resources for LGBT teens and their communities. This $500 award is open to graduating high school seniors who’ve advocated for LGBT issues through community service and who demonstrate a commitment to the future of the LGBT community.
Thirteen scholarships were awarded in 2016, and the organization looks forward to expanding that number in the future.
The deadline is May 31 annually.
9. Bonner Scholars Program
Students with demonstrated financial need can apply for the Bonner Scholars program. The program meets each student’s full documented financial need for serving 10 hours of community service per week during the academic year and 280 total hours in the summer over their four years as an undergraduate student.
The award is available for students attending one of the Bonner Scholar partner colleges or universities across the U.S.
Admission is rolling and applications must be filled out directly at the student’s selected campus program.
10. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
U.S. students in grades 5-12 who have participated in community service in the most recent 12 months are eligible to receive a Spirit of Community Award from Prudential.
National Honorees receive a $5,000 award, a medallion, a trophy and a $5,000 grant to a charity of choice. State Honorees receive an award of $1,000, a medallion and a paid trip to Washington, D.C.
The deadline is in November annually.
11. AXA Achievement Community Award
Every AXA financial advisor branch distributes up to 12 $2,500 scholarships every year to high school seniors with outstanding achievement in school, community service or work-related activities.
Special consideration is given to students who participate in activities related to reducing financial, environmental, health or safety risks, as well as emergency preparedness.
The deadline is in December annually, or until 10,000 applications are received.
12. Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship
One student from every school can be nominated by their principal for this $1,000 scholarship for students who show a strong commitment to and involvement in community service, leadership and academics. There are also higher levels of scholarships for eligible winners.
Since the inception of the program in 2000, more than $26 million has been awarded to more than 25,000 students.
The deadline is in December annually.
Jen Smith is a writing intern at The Penny Hoarder and the blogger behind Saving with Spunk. She was the president of her community service club in high school. 🤓
New research paper assignment, topic = time. i'm gonna do it on pink floyd.
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