Greetings, Odd Fellows! This is a later than planned report on the 2019-2020 scholarships awarded by the Youth Services Committee (YSC). As a result of you showing up and working at our concerts, clothing swap, raffles as well as your direct contributions, we donated a total of $13,000 to ten Half Moon Bay High School graduates and three scholars already attending college.

Originally, the YSC had planned to award $5,000 total to HMBHS graduates. However, the nine applications forwarded to us by the HMBHS Local Scholarship Committee were all worthy of support. All applicants showed steady improvement academically, many worked as well as attending school and most helped their families financially. Their goals for study after High School were practical and realistic. We made the best choices we could, reluctant to turn any away. Then, a conversation with an old friend named Chris Hall led to a donation of $5,000! To our relief, we were able to award $1,000 to each of the ten applicants.

Chris is a retired Businessman and Entrepreneur who runs the nonprofit Kensington Farmers Market, tutors at a local public school and runs marathons so he doesn’t get bored in his retirement. Chris is one of a few people ( I am sure you know some, too) who aren’t Odd Fellows but are our Odd Angels in that they contribute much and ask for nothing.

More about recipients of our individual $1,000 scholarships: one HMBHS student applied through our website, a first! Three of our continuing students include three past Odd Fellow Pilgrimage participants. Another recipient worked at M. Coffee (which used to occupy the space which is now Cafe Society, or Harpos) when she was referred to the OF scholarship program by member of Odd Fellows.

Here are some of the reactions from the recipients to receiving their scholarships: Idalis wrote: “..I wanted to say Thank You very much for giving me this amazing scholarship. I really appreciate this opportunity you gave me….I have been working hard to make my Mom proud. I would stress on how I am going to pay for classes once I go to college, since I have a single Mother. But I figured it out and I can’t thank you enough for this scholarship..”

Ashley wrote: “I want to thank you for awarding me with this scholarship. This money is going towards my summer tuition at Montana State University where I am studying Chemical Engineering. Thank you especially during these hard times. Thank you for believing in me…”

And Julissa wrote: “I just wanted to say thank you so much for the scholarship. I will be attending Canada College in the fall and I’m super excited. I’m not 100% sure on what I want to become in the future but right now I’m thinking about becoming a medical assistant. I am really thankful and your support means alot to me. Thank you!”

To Youth Services Committee members who weren’t able to participate in the selection of recipients this year: there is next year! My error: I sent out only one e-mail to YSC members announcing it was time to read applications. With busy lives and the beginning of the Pandemic, it was not enough. I’m sorry! Big thanks to Sandra Gleichman and Michelle Dragony who were able to help read the scholarship applications.

Odd Fellows scholarships wouldn’t have happened this year if Sandra and Michelle hadn’t stepped up. But it is also true that you Odd Fellows have been stepping up all year! All the times you came to volunteer when the couch, your book or Netflix seemed a better alternative came down to this: now thirteen young people are closer to realizing their dreams. In this time of economic uncertainty, isolation and fear for the future, that is no small thing. Thanks!

In FLT, Susan E Brennan Youth Services Committee

The All-Seeing Eye

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