Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finding the Balance

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan

Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State.


It’s a common notion among college students that we can only pick two of the following three things: academics, extracurriculars, and social life. Here at Penn State, like people at every other university, some pick only extracurriculars and social life, trying to enjoy themselves as much as possible in the four years that we have as undergraduates. On the other hand, some pick only academics and extracurriculars, trying to build a solid resume that will bring them future success. Finally, there are some brave souls who dare to pick all three.

Since coming to college, I’ve had to make some crucial decisions. The amount of in-class hours is significantly less from high school to college. However, the amount of out-of-class studying required is significantly higher.  All of the time in between these two things, however, is up to each individual to delegate to each activity, whether extracurricular or social.

My true passion is dance, and I have joined three dance establishments: Ghaam, the garba-raas team, salsa, and belly dancing. This makes for five practices a week, which keeps me busy and gives me a good outlet from studying. Additionally, I joined the South Asian Student Association in order to meet other Indian people and keep in touch with my culture. With a student base of 40,000 people here at Penn State, meeting people is not at all difficult. Some of my best nights here were spent eating, dancing, and just talking with my floor mates into the early hours of the night (of course, we all regretted this when we were unable to wake up for our 8 a.m. Chem class the next morning).

All the while, as an Elks scholar, I am making a difference in my community and working to fulfill my duties as the freshman representative of the Elks Scholar Advisory Board. I hope all my fellow Elks scholars are enjoying their time in college, finding that balance between academics, extracurriculars, and social life, and staying true to themselves and their roots. So, fellow Elks scholars, how do you find time to balance your academic and social live at school? Post in the comments below to let me know. Until next month!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elks Community Builder


An Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant has helped the Elks find the right balance. Using its Beacon Grant, Blue Springs, Mo., Lodge No. 2509 partnered with a local nursing home to provide fall prevention classes for residents, helping them prevent injuries. For each therapy session, Elks set up the classroom, served as spotters, and assisted the instructor with client evaluations.

Thanks to this beneficial program, residents’ balance has improved, helping them feel safer and steadier in their homes.

“I tested much better at the end of the program than at the initial evaluation,” says one client.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $2,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Haley Strouf
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Bioengineering Major

Sponsored by Rice Lake, Wis., Lodge No. 1441


“I pride myself on my identity as an active member of my school and community,” says Haley Strouf.

Her numerous involvements from athletics to volunteering allow Haley to develop her identity as a dedicated and passionate individual, an identity she will continue to cultivate in the years ahead.

In high school, Haley honed her leadership skills as the captain of her swimming, gymnastics and track teams, while also serving as vice-president for her senior class and the National Honor Society. Amid her leadership roles, Haley also cultivated a love of helping others, by volunteering as a math tutor and mentoring elementary children.

As she looks forward to her future, Haley plans to continue to stay involved and assist others. After graduating and pursuing graduate school, Haley hopes to become a bio-engineer and design prosthesis, helping those restricted through amputation achieve fuller lives.

Her new identity as an Elks scholar will ensure she achieves her goals with the help of her Elks family.

“Being an Elks scholar is both exciting and meaningful,” says Haley. “My identity as an Elks scholar is a constant reminder of the numerous ways I can benefit others.”

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. This year, the ENF allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Harrison Williams

2014 Lester and Marion Bacon Most Valuable Student Scholar 

Georgia Institute of Technology—Engineering Major

Sponsored by Springfield, Ill., Lodge No. 158


To excel in athletics, academics and community service, one must be dedicated. At a young age, Harrison Williams learned dedication and discipline through wrestling and translated these values into helping others.

Following in his family’s footsteps, Harrison started wrestling in third grade. Through the encouragement of his coaches, Harrison became a dedicated athlete and eventually became team captain, lettered all four years, and won numerous honors at the state level.

Yet his accomplishments go far beyond the wrestling mat. The discipline, ambition and dedication he learned turned into a commitment to academic excellence and serving his community.

“The impact wrestling had is motivation toward community service,” says Harrison. “Once I realized how many people had helped me, I decided to pass my blessings to the community.”

His service included cleaning up natural disasters, building homes for low-income neighbors, and mentoring children at his church and at-risk youth.

His dedication to excellence and community ensures Harrison is in good company with his Elks family.

“It is an honor to be an Elks scholar,” says Harrison. “It means that I represent the ideals the Elks want to support. I represent what it means to give to the community.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Carly Grimes
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Pomona College—Environmental Analysis Major

Sponsored by Venice-Nokomis, Fla., Lodge No. 1854


Elks scholars have a knack for using their passion to help others. This is certainly true for Carly Grimes, who plans to combine her passion for law and the environment to promote changes in environmental policy.

In high school, Carly volunteered for Teen Court as an attorney, representing teens that had run into trouble with local law enforcement. In addition to improving her public speaking skills and developing a passion for law, Carly served as a positive role model for her peers, encouraging them to make better decisions in the future.

Since middle school she has also volunteered with the Wyland Foundation, engaging communities nationwide in environmental initiatives and educating them on the importance of oceanic preservation. Because of her dedication, Carly was chosen as the first Youth Ambassador for the Planet, speaking to communities about sustainability and organizing hundreds of volunteers and participants at national events.

With her Elks scholarship and her drive to make a difference, Carly will continue to positively impact the world.

“I was very excited to become an Elks scholar,” says Carly. “I know how strong the Elks scholar network is and I am looking forward to engaging with other motivated and talented students devoted to making a difference in their communities.”

After college, Carly will attend law school, pursuing a career in environmental law. With her passion and experience behind her, she is ready to create lasting change.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Jasmine Ford  
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient
 
Gonzaga University—Nursing Major

Sponsored by Tillamook, Ore., Lodge No. 1437

Jasmine Ford has a passion for building community by helping others.

In between varsity track meets and organizing events for National Honor Society in high school, Jasmine found time to give back in countless ways. Every week, she volunteered for her church’s Sunday school, teaching and spending time with community children. She also worked as a soccer referee and as a youth staff member at the local YMCA. In addition, she suffered through bone chilling temperatures in Hope on the Slopes, a day-long ski marathon to benefit cancer research.

“I love giving back to the community through committed volunteer work,” says Jasmine.

As a college student, Jasmine eagerly jumped into volunteering by living in a service-oriented residence hall. In her first week, Jasmine volunteered to help build a hiking trail to benefit the community.

She will continue helping others in her career, with plans to become a nurse practitioner and join an international organization to bring medicine to those in need.

“Being an Elks scholar has highlighted the fact that volunteer work builds community by connecting people and by helping those in need,” says Jasmine. “I am proud to be an Elks scholar.”

We know Jasmine will continue build community wherever she goes!

In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Marisa Pia Kwiatkowski   
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Stanford University

Sponsored by Santa Clara, Calif., Lodge No. 2347


After years on the track and field team, Marisa Pia Kwiatkowski can go the distance. Besides her athletic pursuits, Marisa has spent many hours as a swim instructor and lifeguard, teaching children water safety and swimming techniques.

She has also spent time as a tutor and babysitter, all of which has given her a love of working with children. In college, Marisa plans to study education or business management, and plans to work her way from teacher to principal, becoming a force in education policy and improving students’ experiences.

“I hope to make a difference by uniting my community,” says Marisa. “I believe that a united group of people can work toward helping the less fortunate.”

With her passion for helping others and her Elks scholarship, Marisa will be able to help many children through her future endeavors.

“Being an Elks scholar is a true honor,” says Marisa. “I am so very glad that being an Elks scholar will give me access to a greater community.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars.