Rain can’t dampen spirit of church hosting community picnic to help fund scholarships

Since a women’s group started the program in 2005, community church members in Pine Run have seen their desire to help local students pay for college or other training grow steadily.

So they weren’t about to let a light rain put a damper on Saturday’s efforts to provide scholarship start-up funds with a community picnic featuring a variety of items that were raffled off. spell.

“When I joined this church 11 years ago, one of the ministries that I thought had potential to grow was the scholarship program,” said Reverend Joshua Strunk, senior pastor. from the church. “The seeds were sown for this program, but I felt we could do more to help local students.

In May, the church awarded five $1,000 scholarships to area students who demonstrate a commitment to academic achievement as well as service to their community.

Saturday’s event was to raise funds for scholarships to be awarded next spring.

The scholarship program was started in 2005 by the church’s women’s ministry, which had just $153 to give. So they held several small fundraisers to raise the scholarship amount to $500 to help a local high school graduate.

In the years that followed, the church raised $60,000 to help 85 graduates pay for their education.

Strunk said his dream was to expand the program so more money could be given to more students each year.

And while the church will continue to look for ways to pay for the scholarships, the pastor hopes those who can afford it will see the value and donate to the cause.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could one day help a student who wants to study medicine or pursue a career path that requires a significant investment in education? says Strunk, 45.

“I think when the community comes together to help its young people, it increases the chances that they will consider settling in the community when they are done with school,” he said. “Investing in education is an investment in the future of our community.”

Strunk said the scholarships are a small way for the church to show local kids “that we’re behind you, we care about you, and want to help you achieve the things you set out to do.”

Kylee Hestheth, 27, of Vandergrift, who has helped organize the fundraiser for the past two years, said the church hopes the community picnic can also let more people know about the program. scholarships.

“We really want more kids to apply for them,” she said. “They don’t have to be members of this church, or just go to college.

“We want people who attend community college or trade and technical schools to apply,” she said. “Really, any type of education after high school is eligible, and we encourage students with all sorts of interests to apply.”

Church of Penn Hills member Mary Ann Atchison said the community picnic is not just a nice way for people to gather for fun, the event is for a good cause.

“I think it’s wonderful that the church is looking for ways to meet people’s needs,” she said. “Even a little financial aid helps when a young person is trying to find ways to pay for their education.”

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tony by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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