United Way has $500 scholarships for 10 Orleans County seniors

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 May 2021 at 7:46 pm

Organization giving out scholarships for first time for seniors with track record of community service

United Way of Orleans County has announced for the first time it is offering scholarships to students in Orleans County’s schools who meet certain criteria.

Dean Bellack, director of United Way of Orleans County, and its board acknowledge the past year has been one of the most successful in the agency’s history, and they are anxious to share the wealth in any way they can.

To this end, United Way has announced an annual scholarship award to each of the five schools in the county: Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina.

The scholarships will be made available to two students at each school – a male and female – who meet the criteria of participation in community service, being in good academic standing and having general good citizenship. Each scholarship will be for $500 and will be awarded when the student begins his or her college year.

Bellack went on to explain the importance of local donations, especially those given through payroll deductions.

While United Way may have been very fortunate during the past year to receive considerable funding from outside the county, payroll deductions and donations from the local community are vital to their mission of helping the area’s needy.

Workplace campaigns to promote employee giving took a big hit in 2020 due to Covid-19 either partially or totally shutting down company operations.

Bellack noted that Albion Central School employees, in particular, have been consistently successful with their workplace campaigns for the United Way.

Eric Christiansen, Albion High School psychologist and chair of the Counseling Department, has been a longtime proponent of United Way.

“This is the 30th year I’ve been here, and giving to United Way has always seemed to be a big part of the culture of Albion Central School,” Christiansen said. “Our leaders always felt it was important to support United Way.”

He said there seems to be someone each year willing to reach out to school employees, asking them to consider their donations to United Way.

“It’s one of the things I love about Albion Central School,” he said.

Christiansen said he was very pleased United Way is able to offer scholarships to students.

“We  have a lot of our students who do community service and they don’t get recognized for it,” he said. “Some of them donate hundreds of hours in the community and they do it quietly. College is getting increasingly expensive and it’s nice to have an organization that wants to give to our students. Even a small scholarship adds up. I already have some great candidates in mind.”

Bellack added his thanks to Albion school teachers and all their staff for their consistent generosity.

“We are all better when we come together and contribute to our community,” he said.

The first scholarships will be announced at the end of the 2021 school year.

United Way funds nearly two dozen agencies and programs in Orleans County, which provide assistance to the homeless, seniors, the needy, handicapped, and more, and these scholarships are just a way to give to another segment of the population.