Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Perfect Fit

By 2015 Most Valuable Student Scholarship Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Jessica Carter

Jessica Carter, 2015 Most Valuable Student scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshman. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Northwestern University. 


Four of the seven SAB members in front 
of the Soldiers Memorial in downtown Indy.
I’ve always pictured the Elks National Foundation as a puzzle: a culmination of very different people that seamlessly fit together to create something beautiful. I got a glimpse of the final picture when I had the opportunity to attend the Elks National Convention in early July.

To give you a little background, I was recently selected to be the freshman representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board—SAB for short. Every year, the eight members of the SAB meet up at the Elks National Convention to discuss new ways to improve the organization through scholar involvement. This year’s destination: Indianapolis.

The second my plane arrived it was easy to see why Indy was chosen. From the amazing art found on the Pedestrian Bridge, to the Soldiers Memorial, there was so much history, so much beauty. And being a Chicago girl myself, the clean streets and the friendly drivers were a welcomed surprise.


Told you it was a thing!
As I look back, the best times for me were the times spent traveling around the Convention Hall. From circling around to the Georgia booth five times for their free fudge to even making a trip over to the National Pok√©mon Convention—I kid you not, that’s a thing—there was no shortage of excitement. Nevertheless, nothing compared to meeting all of the state representatives and seeing what a difference the Elks are making in the lives of people around them.
   
Their unwavering kindness and generosity made me that much more excited for August. For the first time ever, a remarkable group of Elks scholars will be traveling to Manistique, Michigan for a week of service. Elks Scholar Service Trips, spearheaded by Elks Scholar Fellow Maryann Slater, provide an amazing outlet to for Elks scholars across the country to connect, learn, and serve with other scholars by their side. Not only will we get to visit two Elks Lodges, but we’ll also be given the unparalleled opportunity to make a lasting impact in the name of the Elks.


Hearing how the Elks were making a difference 
within their communities was such an inspiration.
Being at the Elks National Convention made me feel like I was slowly becoming a small piece of that large puzzle, and through our work up in Manistique that final picture is going to be just a little brighter.

Jessica Carter
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Northwestern University 

In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.16 million to fund the ENF scholarship program, which provides college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important parts of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and each other. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

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