The White Plains Examiner

White Plains Teens Receive Scholarships

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Ten teenagers in White Plains have been awarded for their altruism courtesy of the Pat Lanza Family Foundation.

On Friday, the Pat Lanza Family Foundation awarded $50,000 in scholarships to 10 participants of the White Plains Youth Bureau who are graduating seniors of White Plains High School.

Lanza cited the Youth Bureau’s successful efforts to provide support for young people in the city who wish to pursue a college education. The scholarship winners, who will all be attending college in the fall, were awarded this scholarship because of their leadership within the community as well as their commitment to community service.

The seniors received their scholarships in a ceremony at the White Plains Public Library. The ten recipients went through an application process which included essay questions, a letter of recommendation, and a college acceptance letter.

The applicants were required to come in for an interview, and the students with the top scores for the essay and interview combined were chosen for the scholarship.

“I try to help the needy, the poor and homeless and give scholarships to deserving people,” Lanza said. “I like when students give back to the community. It’s one of the reasons I chose the kids from the White Plains Youth Bureau. They all give back to the community.”

Lanza, an Eastchester resident, first heard about the Youth Bureau through the county’s youth division. Her foundation also supports El Centro Hispano and Habitat for Humanity.

“They do terrific work,” Lanza said of the Youth Bureau. “The kids are magnificent. I enjoy helping the ones who help others. It’s the people that we need in the future. The Youth Bureau is my kind of organization.”

The Youth Bureau picked out the kids who were awarded the scholarship, with Lanza getting to meet them at a dinner.

“They were all so impressive,” Lanza said. “They speak well, they are happy and enthusiastic. They are the type of person that makes you appreciate the future of this country.”

Lanza is no stranger to altruism, having traveled all over the world. She’s built farms in Africa, centers for kids in Vietnam suffering from Agent Orange and helped fund the New England Dream Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. She also recently set up an intergenerational day care center in Mt. Kisco and supports the Westchester Food Bank in Elmsford.

“I love the food bank,” Lanza said. “They offer so many great programs. It’s really a great organization.”

Last month through El Centre Hispano, Lanza awarded $42,000 in scholarships to graduating Hispanic students and also gives out scholarships to students attending Westchester Community College.

Frank Williams, the Director of the Youth Bureau, said that this is part of the mayor’s initiative to encourage kids in White Plains to do more to help the less fortunate.

“That’s what we do as an agency and as a city,” Williams said. “There are lots and lots of kids involved in community service. It was difficult to pick only ten.”

Williams said that many of the kids are in need of scholarships, coming from homes of parents who are out of work or are products of single family homes

“We have kids who just need help,” Williams said. “This is a major impact on their lives. It will help them realize that when you help others, there is a return of help to you. You get what you give.”

Lanza and Williams both said that they expect the scholarships to become an annual event.

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