Kiwanis Club of Palatka Making a Difference
Robin Robinson, December 18, 2017
For many years our Club has been awarding scholarships for deserving graduating high school seniors. About 3 years ago one of our members challenged us to re-think our process. We were awarding $500 to $2000 each to several students each year that were already getting other scholarships. He asked us to focus on doing what we proclaim as Kiwanians, to change the world one child, one community at a time. He suggested we weren't changing anyone's life by adding to the scholarships they were already receiving.
We began searching for a student who wouldn't otherwise go to college. Someone without a big support system at home, maybe not the best grades, but the desire to attend college. Someone who wouldn't go unless they got a full-ride.
It wasn't easy but we found a student that fit the description, Keysmarie Lagares. She was the first of her siblings to complete high school. She worked at the local McDonalds, where she'd probably just continue after graduation...until she was offered our scholarship. We told her our Club wanted to pay her way through school and be her cheerleaders along the way. And she took us seriously! She worked very hard and completed her AA degree. At her college graduation, she was also recognized by the President of the College, who awarded her with a very special honor he gives each year to students who overcome a lot of obstacles to obtain their degrees.
The club is extremely porud of Keysmarie and of our club's dedication and ability to making a difference. With the support of the Kiwanis Club of Palatka, Keysmarie excelled and she is now in a different trajectory.
By Robin Robinson
Club PR and Marketing Chair