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Take Charge of Tomorrow Scholarship

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers would like to congratulate our Scholarship winners. We're glad to offer this scholarship to students who will help shape their community's future. Our firm values education and wants to help students in need, and with the Take Charge of Tomorrow Scholarship, we've found another way to give back not just to our surrounding community, but to students across the country.

Thank you to all who applied. We may be awarding more scholarships to recent high school graduates or current college student who have demonstrated a meaningful commitment to their local community. Please check our blog and Facebook page for announcements and other scholarship opportunities.

2020 Pay it Forward Scholarship winner

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"I knew I couldn’t hold myself up on monkey-bars or shoot basketballs. I noticed my asymmetrical-legs, but I thought my shoe lift was cool. Somehow, I didn’t realize I was small."

- Nicholas T., Scholarship winner

Short Essay

If you want to make elephants small, transport them to an island and wait a few hundred years. Due to a phenomenon called “island-dwarfism,” animals isolated from their native environment grow smaller over time to compensate for a lack of resources.

I know a little bit about what that’s like.

I have Russell Silver Syndrome (RSS), a form of congenital-dwarfism. Children with this syndrome have a lack of appetite and simply don’t grow. But I didn’t know any of this then.

I knew I couldn’t hold myself up on monkey-bars or shoot basketballs. I noticed my asymmetrical-legs, but I thought my shoe lift was cool. Somehow, I didn’t realize I was small.

"I have Russell Silver Syndrome (RSS), a form of congenital-dwarfism. Children with this syndrome have a lack of appetite and simply don’t grow. But I didn’t know any of this then."
- Nicholas T.

Perhaps one reason I didn’t feel so small was that early on my parents discovered the MAGIC Foundation (Major-Aspects-of-Growth-in-Children), a non-profit supporting families affected by rare growth-disorders. And because of my doctor, I’m luckier than most RSS patients. I received growth-hormone treatments. When I was young, I was fed at night through a g-tube, a hole in my stomach that lets me receive nutrition directly.

Today I work in the foundation’s conferences and clinics. I meet twelve-years-olds who look six. My job is to make families feel comfortable, or to “translate” what the doctor says into plain language.

The toughest moments are with older children. Last year I met a girl who was 4’ 6” with a pronounced triangular face. She was 18; her growth plates had already fused. So it was too late to pursue treatment. She was stuck on the island.

"As an incoming college freshman, of course, I cannot solve this issue of systemic oversight in healthcare policy, but I can draw upon past experiences and stories to try to create a better future for marginalized patients."
- Nicholas T.

Knowing what that’s like, I’ve created two Facebook groups, one about navigating diagnosis and another for day-to-day stories. I’m also the founder of MAGIC’s Family Mentor Program, which helps families get one-on-one help with therapist recommendations and health insurance issues.

Unfortunately, more often than not, health insurance companies deny coverage for growth-hormone prescriptions, forcing RSS families to pay high costs and forgo the needed treatment. This is due to the fact that the FDA has strict, and outdated, regulations that only allow growth-hormone-deficient patients to have access to the injectable-medication--RSS kids do not lack growth-hormone, despite their inability to grow independently. They do not “fit” into any medical category established in current medical references or regulatory-guidance. Specialist-physicians, whom I’ve worked with, have called this a great injustice to the medical-minority in America.

As an incoming college freshman, of course, I cannot solve this issue of systemic oversight in healthcare policy, but I can draw upon past experiences and stories to try to create a better future for marginalized patients. I’ve learned that medicine, like any other discipline, does not exist in a vacuum--it involves business, sociology, and a great deal of policy. With an education at Chapman University pursuing a major in ​Health Sciences​, I can combine ideas from multiple disciplines to formulate my own insights, and gain an understanding of healthcare that goes beyond just addressing one’s physical symptoms. Ultimately, I hope to create an inclusive future of healthcare that is truly patient-centered and personalized for all.

- Nicholas T.


2019 National Scholarship winner

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"Regardless of challenging beliefs in the room, I chose to take initiative in garnering the youth to utilize their potential."

- Anisha P., National Scholarship winner

Short Essay

In all of my lifetime, there have only ever been a few moments that have truly been unforgettable. One of these moments starts with a summer vacation in India where I clearly remember holding my precious baby cousin in my arms for the first time. Her eyes twinkled up at me and her innocent stare burst at me from her deep brown eyes. Our eyes interlocked as if we’ve been best friends forever, and I, feeling this connection with her, tightened my arms around the bundle of cuteness that was this beautiful newborn girl. “She’s so cute!” I gushed with a toothy smile on my seven-year-old face. I glanced at my aunt. She let a proud smile slip through the few tufts of hair framing her delighted face.

“Yeah, I guess my little girl did turn out to be pretty cute” she shyly beamed. We both soaked in her angelic presence, only to be disrupted by the baby girl’s grandmother. Slowly shuffling in, the old lady, rather unnecessarily, addressed our compliments she overheard.

“I agree, she’s pretty cute – but her skin color – why is it so tan? Honestly, she’s so dark. If she had been born a few shades lighter, she would’ve been able to grow up into such a beautiful girl.” My head rose up from the shock of that bizarre statement. My arms tightened around the little girl, wanting to protect her from all the harm and hate in the world. I saw my aunt’s gentle proud smile fade into a guilty frown, indicating that she perhaps felt sorry for giving birth to a dark-skinned baby.

It wasn’t until this moment that I realized the absurdity in comments like this. Just barely born and she already had to carry the burden of nonsensical societal standards. Anger boiled and erupted within me. While I myself had been a victim of such words for a while, it was different seeing someone I cared about being cruelly targeted – it was now finally clear to me that this type of degrading but familiar language was irrational and outdated. Yet, there I cowardly sat in front of the old lady, not even muster enough courage to say a single word and unsure of exactly what had happened.

"It wasn’t until this moment that I realized the absurdity in comments like this. Just barely born and she already had to carry the burden of nonsensical societal standards."
- Anisha P.

Multiple experiences of my own rushed back to me at that second, and I remembered visiting India tanned after an innocent, magical, sun-filled (and to the horror of Indian moms, very outdoor) trip to Disneyland. What I failed to understand was that my careless tanning was a brown kid’s worst crime -- a crime that I apparently should’ve known to have been careful about according to all the disapproving family friends and relatives I met. Absolutely drenched in embarrassment and ashamedness, I recalled how my five-year-old self looked down at the floor, how my cheeks turned red and sorry with guilt, and how I loathed this so-called flaw. As I stepped outside of the house, it didn’t take long to confirm my twisted perception. Billboards plastered with ads for bleaching creams, Indian movie posters dotted with almost European-looking leads, and claims of fixing a dark-skinned person’s life crowded every street, making it clear that I did not look like someone who could ever belong up there. Family and friends would hand me bleaching recipes for ridiculous concoctions made of components as delusional as milk, turmeric and unicorn hair to lighten the skin color I was born with.

INaive and easily fooled by my surroundings, I began to truly adopt such standards, religiously use these forms of bleach, and avoid the sun in hopes of finally becoming beautiful. In an attempt to feel accepted and happy, I succumbed to the ludicrous standards; however, I was not happy at all. Progressively, my confidence dwindled into nonexistence, and low self-esteem stained my composure. My feelings were easy to manipulate and as delicate as glass. I was controlled by the thoughts of others and soon, I realized that everything I did was to fulfill others expectations and keep them happy.

It wasn’t until several years later that I identified my experiences as colorism, a phenomenon in which discrimination is based on skin color -- often so normalized that it is embedded into the way a society works and is unrecognizable as problem. Believing that this issue was only prevalent in Indian society, I was surprised to discover that this feeling of being powerlessly shackled to the chains of humankind’s expectations globally found its way through Hispanic, East Asian, Black, and Middle Eastern communities as well.

"Watching how others within these communities stayed strong helped me understand that self-acceptance, resisting societal pressure, and living life for myself would give me true satisfaction and happiness."
- Anisha P.

Watching how others within these communities stayed strong helped me understand that self-acceptance, resisting societal pressure, and living life for myself would give me true satisfaction and happiness. As I’ve ignored the ideals of others and dared to stand up for individuals in uncomfortable situations such as mine, I’ve gradually become closer to the free, unafraid version I’ve always imagined of myself. I still continue my journey of self-love to this day, hoping to be the role model for kids today that my younger self would have wanted. Fighting for what you know is right when you're made to feel like your feelings are trivial and irrelevant is always difficult but is the first step in creating change and breaking the mold that society forces individuals to fit. I would go against this beauty standard all over again, especially if I knew that my uncomfortable confrontations with relatives and family friends about this topic reaped so many benefits in the way I changed so many perspectives and enlightened them upon this backward thinking while also changing the way peers and kids who look up to me think.

- Anisha P.


2019 Southern California Scholarship winner

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"Regardless of challenging beliefs in the room, I chose to take initiative in garnering the youth to utilize their potential."

- Sarah Y., Southern California Scholarship winner

Short Essay

During the summer of my first year of college, I excitedly joined a congressional campaign for my district. As the youngest person on the political outreach team, I was concerned over my lack of experience or credibility due to my age. I recall several times where I would be asked, "Are you even old enough to vote?" Although my age was put to question, I soon realized I had to keep my will strong. Experience was not a qualification to exemplify change. I was fortunate in being given a platform where I was able to champion the advocacy of education, diversity, and local improvements.

"I was quickly recognized for my youth which led me to become a political coordinator for high school and college students."
- Sarah Y.

I was quickly recognized for my youth which led me to become a political coordinator for high school and college students. On behalf of the campaign, I visited various schools within the congressional district and lead discussions on the importance of civic engagement. Ironically, one of the hardest endeavors of the campaign was mobilizing people who were within my age. Many were stuck under the belief of how "their vote does not matter" or the assumption that politics is a brutal world. It was difficult to reach out to other students who constantly told me going into politics was a lost cause. I then recognized I was facing a generational issue of silenced voices. My aim for each classroom meeting was to evoke the potential of future generations by first recognizing issues that resonate through them. I wanted to bring awareness and assurance that their call to action holds an impact on their life from education to healthcare. As much as there was a push back, I motivated students to be active within their community whether it be simply voting or joining a community service club on campus.

"I want to speak out about the potentiality of the youth for hopes in future successes for this generation to the next and so forth"
- Sarah Y.

Regardless of challenging beliefs in the room, I chose to take initiative in garnering the youth to utilize their potential. I was immediately moved by the number of students who came up to talk to me about their personal narratives. I heard first hand the stories of individual students who were fearful of their DACA status or loss of healthcare. I welcomed students to participate in programs that protected their welfare and interests. By talking to other students, it was concerning that they have otherwise would have been unaware about resources nevertheless their rights. It was also a profound experience to discuss with others about the realities facing the youth that so often become dismissed.

Overall, the experience during school visits has shaped me in becoming a more resilient person. I realized it is inevitable that there will be opposition on my stance, but I still stand strong. I also learned that one can be simultaneously strong-willed and compassionate. The statement of a powerful point requires tolerance of both sides.

I wanted to speak out about the potentiality of the youth for hopes in future successes for this generation to the next and so forth. If I had the chance to do it over again, I undoubtedly would.

- Sarah Y.


2018 National Winning Entry

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"Even if I do not become the best or most known psychologist, I want to make a mark in at least a few individuals and families."

- Marianne G., 2018 Scholarship Winner

Introduction

"I will leave a mark in the world by helping others."
- Marianne G.

Icannot imagine my life after high school. I realize that is probably the worst way I can introduce an essay about why I deserve a scholarship for college, but I believe in honesty. For years I have set goals for myself to ensure that I have a career path plan - the anxious and organized individual that I am would not be able to sleep at night if I did not have a plan. For the past three years of my life this plan has consisted of going to college and majoring in psychology-which fascinates me. Tears of joy poured down my face the day I found out I got accepted into the University of Florida, the best university in Florida for psychology, and in that moment my plan seemed more realistic than ever. Yet as the countdown for my graduation gets closer, I find it harder, and harder, to picture myself 5 hours away from my home living independently. Do not twist my words; not once have I questioned what I am capable of. I guarantee I am one of the most passionate and motivated students - I will succeed in reaching the career I have always dreamed of- the transition is what terrifies me. I am applying to this scholarship in hopes that I will feel more stable and secure knowing Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers is supporting me financially as I progress my education at the University of Florida.

Short Essay

My interest in psychology began during my freshman year in high school in an Introduction to Psychology class. The power of the brain intrigues me - especially learning about mental disorders. It was not until I saw the effects of a mental illness in my own household later that year that I realized I want to help people struggling with brain disorders. I have made it my purpose in life to become the best version of myself that can treat those who struggle living a euphoric life due to a disorder.

"I want to have limitless opportunities of helping others with mental disorders whether it's becoming a psychiatrist, health psychologist, child psychologist, neuropsychologist, or even opening my own psychology organization."
- Marianne G.

In the University of Florida, which is top 5 in Psychology, I will be majoring in Psychology and minoring in Innovations. A minor in Innovations will help me learn basic skills of leadership and entrepreneurship that may be beneficial in the long run if I were to want to open my own psychotherapy organization or a psychiatric association. I like to keep my options open. In fact, my dream job is actually a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental disorder by prescribing medications; for this reason, it requires a medical degree.

During my four years of pursuing a bachelors in psychology I will be taking the necessary pre-med courses to get into medical school. If things go as planned I will go to medical school to become a psychiatrist, but by majoring in psychology my options will stay open if I decide medical school is not the path for me four years from now. If I decide not to go to medical school I would still continue my education to get a master's degree in psychology to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology. Similarly to Psychiatry, as a Clinical Psychologist I will be able to diagnose mental, emotional and psychological problems, but instead of prescribing medication I will give alternative treatments usually involving a type of therapy. There are different types of Clinical Psychologist career specialties.

Attending college will be giving me so many options for my future. My mom tells me almost every day how regretful she is that she did not attend college because she feels trapped in her current job knowing that her lack of a college degree limits her opportunities for job openings. I want to have limitless opportunities of helping others with mental disorders whether it's becoming a psychiatrist, health psychologist, child psychologist, neuropsychologist, or even opening my own psychology organization.

"It was not until I saw the effects of a mental illness in my own household later that year that I realized I want to help people struggling with brain disorders."
- Marianne G.

I will leave a mark in the world by helping others. Even if I do not become the best or most known psychologist, I want to make a mark in at least a few individuals and families. Mental disorders not only cause pain in the individuals struggling with them, but they reflect on the individuals loved ones. From personal experience, I have watched a mental disorder cause sorrow to a whole family. I want to save people from that pain and teach individuals with mental disorders that they can learn to conquer the illness and live a euphoric lifestyle. Those individuals living happier will be my mark in the world.

As you can possibly tell from my detailed college plan, I have a lengthy education ahead of me which means it is not going to be easy to afford. I cannot achieve any of my goals without the support of others though scholarships and loans. I hope that Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers can believe in my dream as much as I believe in it and will support me financially making it even a tiny bit easier to not only afford tuition, but help me be stable on my journey of becoming independent in UF.

- Marianne G.


2018 California Winning Entry

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"The community of teachers is where the future of the world is held. I want to join this community."

- Meryn O., 2018 Scholarship Winner

Introduction

"University was an enigma to me in high school. It was like the flower on the top of the peak, beautiful but unreachable."
- Meryn O.

Iam a military brat who comes from a household where both of my parents were in the navy. Being a navy brat comes with the expected moves and homes. I originally lived in Virginia, moved to California, then moved to North Carolina, and then back to California for high school and university. Due to this, I am cross-coastally educated. I am now studying in the golden coast of California at the University of California Santa Barbara. UCSB is the typical image of California, a great beach and great people. I am currently a Sophomore Linguistics major and Japanese minor. As a Japanese minor, and linguistics major, I have picked up the language over my two years of being at UCSB. It has finally come the time to study abroad in Japan, which I will be all of next year at International Christian University in Mitaka. I am applying to this scholarship for that reason. Studying abroad is very costly and it is difficult for me as a first generation student to study abroad without scholarships and/or loans. This scholarship would help me pay for my trip abroad and achieve a dream I have had for over 10 years.

Short Essay

University was an enigma to me in high school. It was like the flower on the top of the peak, beautiful but unreachable. Both of my parents went straight into the navy after high school and did not attempt any higher education after high school. I did not have any information about entering university, only that it was choice after high school. I feebly questioned myself what was out there after high school. I could go into the military like my parents, work at a menial job, or find a position where I could work myself up the ranks. Again, college was an option, but I had no idea how to achieve it. However, I answered my qualms about university when I moved from North Carolina to California.

"I want to teach elementary school and help shape the future of the world. Initial impressions and lessons of the world leave a big impact on young children. Young children are like sponges and I want to leave my mark on them."
- Meryn O.

I began to volunteer at the local elementary school and working with the children there. I was a teacher's assistant and fell in love with the environment. Through volunteering, I found something I loved and something I wanted to pursue in the future. However, I could not pursue this career without higher education. After this, I decided that post-secondary education was the path for me. I began researching colleges in and out of California and attended informational meetings available through my school. I found the University of California systems and it was off from there.

After graduating university, I want to pursue a graduate degree in elementary/ primary education. I want to teach elementary school and help shape the future of the world. Initial impressions and lessons of the world leave a big impact on young children. Young children are like sponges and I want to leave my mark on them. I still remember my elementary school teachers more than any middle or high school teacher. Ask any person, and they will answer that they remember the years and teachers from elementary school. Children bring naivety and joy to the world and I want to help foster an environment where they can grow and mature into a person who can bring only positivity into the world. A great teacher can help shape a great future. The community of teachers is where the future of the world is held. I want to join this community and help plant the seeds that will grow into great oaks in the future.

"A great teacher can help shape a great future. The community of teachers is where the future of the world is held. I want to join this community and help plant the seeds that will grow into great oaks in the future."
- Meryn O.

Through my two years of university, I have been given multiple opportunities and unforgettable chances that would be unlikely if I was not here. UCSB gives their students to network and connect with alumni, students, and professors you would not usually connect with before. You build a social web and grow your reaches across the country, and possibly globally. UCSB has brought me educational opportunities that were not an option to me before. I was able to go on the tract of higher education through their funding and acceptance.

The tract they have put me on has given me the opportunity to become a polyglot, study abroad, to intern, volunteer, and study the field I love. Post-secondary education has raised me towards the top of the peak where I can nearly pluck the flower. The degree I have been working towards has helped me work towards being a teacher and someone who hosts a global perspective.

- Meryn O.


2016 Winning Entry

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"Having a newfound belief in myself, I ventured into the world of speech and debate, still struggling to express myself articulately, but needing to be heard."

- Roman S, 2016 Scholarship Winner

Introduction

Igrew up in Ukraine, the world's 25th most corrupt nation. As a child I witnessed government officials murdering dissenters, stealing people's homes, and taking billion dollar bribes. My own sister, Olga, paid her community college principal $28 for a restaurant management degree; she never attended a single class. The professor only accepted the bribe so he could feed his family, since the government checks stopped coming. Corruption seeped into every part of the nation. People kept silent and accepted this as a fact of life. There was a slight glimmer of hope after the 2005 Orange Revolution (a scheme to oust the government) when it seemed like the silent would be given a chance to speak, and corruption be put to an end. But this hope was soon dashed, and the people were once again swallowed up by the all too encompassing systematic corruption.

"Being an immigrant gave me an edge in relating to the issues affecting everyone everywhere."
- Roman S.

My mother, a highly educated woman with a real-estate license, a Russian Literature degree, and a psychology degree couldn't make ends meet to take care of herself and her two children. But she was determined to find a way. In 2009 she joined an online dating website that connected Ukrainian women with American men; she found a way to escape. Although it seems like the term “Mail Order Bride” is just another late night punchline, it was pure maternal instinct. I was only 11.

On September 13th, 2009 my mother, my sister and I got on a plane to the land of opportunity with a stranger.

William Barnes was my step father for one year and seven months. Unfortunately, I saw the man who initially represented protection start to turn against us. Seeing my mother bruised and bloody became the status quo. But we still went out to eat, went on vacations, and carried on as if nothing was wrong. At times I find it difficult to recall exactly what happened, only because it's easier to stay hidden within myself, and deny the reality. I struggled to convince myself that life would get better.

When I turned 12, my mother found the strength to separate. During the divorce procedures, domestic violence shelters and homelessness became synonymous with our American Dream. At the time I was wandering through middle school, trying to learn a new language, and assimilate with an entirely alien culture. All of these challenges pushed me to retreat inside of myself. Surprisingly, being in an ESL classes provided me with a small sense of safety since I was surrounded by students struggling to adjust just like me. As I started learning English, my voice slowly amplified; I could finally express myself and have others understand what I was saying.

"I'm pursuing a degree in economics and international relations because I believe something can be done about the immigration industrial complex."
- Roman S.

Still homeless while living at my mother's friend's house and starting at a new high school, I was directly enrolled into all English-speaking classes. Other student's inability to understand my broken English, once again, forced me to shut down. My thick accent made me an easy target for torment and I did everything in my power to hide my identity. I always considered myself a victim, and refused to stand up for myself. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I took example from my mother, and became my own hero. I asked my English teacher to recommended me for honors English after a successful first semester. His belief in my abilities pushed me to change my entire schedule to accelerated courses. Having a newfound belief in myself, I ventured into the world of speech and debate, still struggling to express myself articulately, but needing to be heard. Of all the events, I found international extemporaneous speaking most appealing. Being an immigrant gave me an edge in relating to the issues affecting everyone everywhere. I found my voice; I could finally come out of hiding. In August of my junior year my mother was able to afford an apartment, we finally had a home. During that same year, I placed eleventh (out of roughly 5,000) at the National Speech and Debate Championship in Dallas, Texas. Standing on the main stage, in front of thousands of people, at the most competitive speech tournament in the world felt incredible. I reflected on the fact that only three years before I was forced to read children's stories while supporting my abused mother. Her ability to persevere inspires me to strive for success, and continues to push me beyond what I ever imagine to be possible.

I hope to use the $500 to buy my mother a plane ticket to visit me while I'm in college.

Short Essay

Growing up as an immigrant in the home district of “America's toughest sheriff” is very complex. While Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn't dress me up in degrading clothing, the stigma of immigration being a plague still seeps into my life. I've lived in the United States for 5 years and 11 months, and there has not been a single day during this time when I am not reminded that the number on my green card is a badge of dishonor. Be it in ESL classes or at the DMV, I'm always reminded of my alien status. How Immigration is approached, both here in Arizona and on the national level, is problematic. It puts immigrant's lives in danger, disfigures United States' image of tolerance, and worsens everyone's quality of life.

"There must be a path to livelihood for everyone in the world, not just the already privileged."
- Roman S.

The lives of immigrants is considered expendable, while in reality their economic benefit greatly outweighs any harms they might present. Center for American Progress explained in 2010 that open immigration channels and legalization of undocumented immigrants would reap a $1.5 trillion dollar reward in GDP over 10 years. In addition, increase in immigration does not affect the employment status of naturalized American citizens. While the deportation of an entire undocumented immigrant population, or the closing of borders will inflict a 1.757 trillion dollar loss on the United States, as spending would drastically decrease. The efforts that are currently used to continually oppressed immigrants from South and Central America are not rooted in economic justifications; it's a racist conduit.

The solution lies in a complete shift of how immigrants are viewed. No matter how difficult the process might be it is a necessary step to create a better community. I'm pursuing a degree in economics and international relations because I believe something can be done about the immigration industrial complex. The progressive and forward looking political atmosphere in Arizona is siphoned by fear, anger, and inaction. A post secondary education will give me the resources, and the means to better a state that has already given me so much. The United States is one of greatest places to grow up, but there is nothing that says it can't be better. There must be a path to livelihood for everyone in the world, not just the already privileged.

- Roman S.