Monday, August 7, 2017

Taking Care of the #ElksFamily

Kyle Bort has been an EEG recipient since 2014. He was appointed to serve on the 2017-18 Elks National Foundation Scholar Advisory Board. Below, Kyle shares a reflection regarding his connection to the Elks National Foundation and his time at the Elks National Convention in Reno, Nevada. If you know a student who could benefit from an Emergency Educational Grant, please email scholarship@elks.org to request a copy of the 2017-18 application.


I had a great time on the Winter Service Trip. 
In many ways, my experience with the Elks National Foundation has really come full circle. When my dad served in the Elks, I was never really aware of the ENF. After his passing in 2009, I was really unsure about my future. The loss of a parent is a very impactful experience. It changes you in so many ways. During this time, I started to lose the connection with my local Lodge.

When I transferred to Missouri State, I began to explore grant opportunities. After all, the cost of a four-year university was much more expensive than my local community college. This is where my journey with the ENF would begin. While exploring options, I heard about the Emergency Educational Grant program made possible by the ENF. This program offers grants of up to $4,000 to children of deceased or permanently disabled Elks members. In my first year, I was extremely lucky to receive this grant. My involvement with the ENF would continue to grow, through participation in Scholar Service Trips. And, I was recently appointed to serve on the Elks National Foundation Scholar Advisory Board.


I loved connecting with my #ElksFamily in Reno.
When I went to the 2017 Elks National Convention, I was unsure of what to expect. While the weekend was amazing, there was one person missing. The same person that originally made my grant possible. The one that cheered at all my baseball games, even though I was never really that good (true statement). The same one that taught me our ability to positively impact the people around us is really what matters. The one that was looking down on the Convention with a smile––my dad.

As we ended the board meets board dinner, a dinner where the Scholar Advisory Board meets with the Elks National Foundation Board of Trustees, we all shared a little bit about our experience. In this moment, I did not just see the Board. It really dawned on me, in that moment, just how much the Foundation was family to me. This same organization that had helped me when I was unsure about what my plans were. When I did not even know what the ENF was, they took a chance on me. 


In 2017-18, the Elks National Foundation allocated $323,890 to fund the Emergency Educational Grant program for children of deceased or totally disabled Elks. If you know any Elks children who may be eligible to receive an Emergency Educational Grant, encourage them to visit enf.elks.org/eeg for information, including eligibility and deadlines

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