News2010_DreamKeepers
PLAN!T NOW to Aid Community College Students
Miami, FL

Miami, FL – PLAN!T NOW (P!N) has teamed with Scholarship America to provide scholarship aid for four community college students in the coastal United States as part of its 2010 PIN Hurricane Relief Scholarship Program (HRS P!N). Through this program, P!N will award four academic scholarships of $2,500 each to community college students studying natural hazard sciences, such as weather research, engineering, chemistry and other fields that help predict or mitigate the impacts of natural disasters on human life.

In 2008, as a means of improving hurricane preparedness in high-risk regions in the United States, P!N created the Hurricane Relief Scholarship Award for college students severely impacted by hurricanes or tropical storms. The award is given to students at four-year colleges and universities who, despite suffering significant setbacks, demonstrate academic and/or service excellence, an inner drive to succeed and a willingness to use their life experiences as teachable moments to encourage hurricane preparedness for others. P!N HRS Dreamkeepers is an exciting part of the program’s growth, now reaching the community college network.

“We know that community colleges are the most viable choice for many people seeking continuing education degrees, and that they provide quality educations to individuals re-entering school after extended periods of non-formal learning breaks,” said P!n President Donna Lee. “In storm zones, it is not uncommon for the reason for these interludes to be disaster-related. We’re also thrilled the 2010 P!N HRS Dreamkeepers fund will reach a college community that contains members of the Haitian diaspora who have experienced the triple devastation of five 2007 and 2008 hurricanes, and the 2010 earthquake.”

Miami, which has the nation’s largest population of Haitians, and Miami-Dade Community College in particular, will be marked to receive the 2010 P!N HRS Dreamkeeper awards. The Dreamkeepers Program began in 2004 with a grant from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education. Today, Scholarship America administers the program in Miami Dade community college and 17 others nationwide.

Dreamkeepers helps colleges retain students who would otherwise drop out or postpone education because of financial hardship due to medical expenses or job losses. According to data obtained by Scholarship America, the average re-enrollment and graduation rate at community colleges is approximately 55 percent. However, Dreamkeepers awardees re-enrolled or graduated at a rate of 84 percent in the 2008-09 academic year.

“We are proud to partner with PLAN!T NOW to provide Dreamkeepers’ students with this valuable scholarship opportunity,” said Donald Lassere, Senior Vice President of Scholarship America. “The Dreamkeepers/PLAN!T NOW scholarships will provide a very needed financial resource to students in the Gulf Region who have demonstrated a strong desire to achieve their educational goals.”

About PLAN!T NOW:
PLAN!T NOW (P!N) is a non-profit organization that reduces the loss of life and property caused by hurricanes and severe storms by delivering cutting-edge preparedness research, education and communications programs. P!N provides individuals, organizations and communities in coastal regions information and resources to protect their families, homes, and businesses from the effects of these storms. P!N’s relief programs include scholarships to college students, rebuilding projects and micro-loans for storm-struck areas.

About Scholarship America:
Scholarship America® is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Since 1958, Scholarship America has awarded more than $2 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.6 million students. Scholarship America three core programs that help us achieve our mission: Dollars for Scholars®, which helps more than 1,100 communities raise local dollars to provide scholarships to local students; Scholarship Management Services®, which helps 1,200 corporations, foundations and individuals give out scholarships around the world; and Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance program, which helps community colleges keep low-income students from dropping out of school by providing emergency financial assistance. More information is available at www.scholarshipamerica.org and at www.dreamkeepers.org.

For more information on the Kresge Foundation, visit www.kresge.org. For more information on the Lumina Foundation for Education, visit www.luminafoundation.org. For more information on the Walmart Foundation, visit walmartstores.com/communitygiving/203.aspx.