Last year saw the launch of the Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarships. They are among the most desirable in the city for one simple reason: their generosity. Each winner receives a $10,000 annual reward renewable through four years of college. That’s right, a total potential value of $40,000.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation aims to change the lives of young people with these scholarships, and seeks out young people who are excellent students and community leaders despite facing some difficult obstacles. For the second year in a row, we are thrilled to announce that Children’s Aid youth won FOUR of the 12 scholarships,. Congratulations to each of our talented scholarship winners:
Bempa Ashia has been a member of the CAS-Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program since its inception at Bronx Prep Charter in August 2008. Since then, he has been an exemplary scholar in terms of his performance, behavior, and achievements. Bempa is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society, and served as the class student government representative in grades 9-10. He is also an active participant in Bronx Prep’s nationally recognized speech and debate team and has competed in tournaments across the country. In his community he has worked as a childcare worker at the Mother Hale Learning Center for the past two summers. He is a member of the Open Hydrant Theatre Company, a community theatre program that performs shows for residents in distressed Bronx neighborhoods. He has accomplished all of this despite his father’s untimely death several years ago. Bempa has already received acceptance letters from nine competitive universities and is in the process of choosing.
Cesay Camara joined the Hope Leadership Academy about four years ago, and her leadership skills quickly became apparent. She has facilitated workshops on topics such as violence prevention, victimization, healthy relationships, cultural diversity, and bullying during youth retreats and special events. She has participated in a number of Children’s Aid programs, including JPMorgan Project LIVE, MSG Classroom, the Teen ACTION program, and the Boys & Girls Club of America Keystone Club. Her high school peers elected her president of the Muslim Students Association. She carries a 96 average in her classes and last summer completed an intensive pre-college program at Brown University.
Joanna Fuentes will be valedictorian of her class this year at the Theatre Arts Production Company School in the Bronx, and has proved to be exceptional across disciplines—in academics, athletics, and artistic achievement. Joanna has been a member of the Children's Aid Society Chorus for two years. Through the chorus she has performed as a soloist at Radio City Music Hall and sang a featured role in the musical "The Odyssey" with the Public Theater which she performed for more than 6,000 people this past September. Joanna is also on her school's varsity softball team, and has maintained a perfect 4.0 average throughout high school. Joanna plans to double major in pre-law and music at college, and will be making her final college decision soon.
Ngawang Tseten came to the United States for medical treatment through the efforts of the Global Medical Relief Fund, a Staten Island nonprofit dedicated to helping children to get necessary treatments for profound physical problems. Ngawang was a member of the ethnic Tibetan exile community living in India when he suffered severe electrical burns to his upper body while trying to free a kite from a tree with a metal pole and touched some high-tension overhead wires. His arms were so severely injured that they had to be amputated, but no part of his spirit and zest for life was lost that day.
Ngawang, known as Charlie to his friends, enrolled at Curtis High School in 2012 as a Freshman. He has devoted himself to his studies and will graduate in June with a New York State Regents Diploma. In addition to his studies, Charlie tried out for the soccer team and spent a year on the wrestling squad. His real passion, though, is music. He sings with the Curtis High School Jazz Warriors in addition to playing with friends in the Dream Band, a group of other Curtis students and alumni with a robust playlist of jazz, rock, and pop. Ngawang will pursue a college degree in business so he can fulfill his most urgent desire is to earn enough to support himself and his mother live so she will never have to work hard again.