JCCC introduces foster care student scholarship

July 11, 2017


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Johnson County Community College has established a new scholarship to benefit students who previously were in foster care. The Linda K. Houston Random Acts of Kindness Scholarship, named after the fund’s donor, begins for the fall 2017 semester and will award $3,600 annually to one recipient for living expenses while pursuing an associate degree or vocational certificate at JCCC. This scholarship supplements the current assistance that the state of Kansas provides foster care students through higher education tuition waivers.

Adult learners who previously have been in foster care or those young adults currently aging out of foster care are encouraged and welcome to apply. Each applicant must provide a short narrative of educational goals and what “Random Acts of Kindness” means to him or her.

“Linda Houston is a person who believes in the power of helping others through random acts of kindness,” said Kate Allen, executive director of the JCCC Foundation. “Based on her wishes, this scholarship assists a special student population with expenses incurred while they work as independent adults to pursue a college education. The JCCC Foundation is thrilled to now provide this scholarship in Linda’s name.”

Houston, a Leawood resident and commercial real estate developer, has a similar Random Acts of Kindness scholarship for students from Wichita North High School attending the University of Kansas. The current KU scholarship recipient grew up in the foster care system. Getting to know this student provided Houston with awareness and compassion for foster children.

Houston was inspired to expand her scholarship goals further to a foster care student at JCCC after reading a recent newspaper article featuring Darol Rodrock. Rodrock, a local real estate developer, grew up in the foster care system and went on to become a successful businessman and established the Darol Rodrock Foundation. According to the foundation’s web site, its mission is to develop the full potential of youth aging out of foster care in a compassionate and positive learning community for a lifetime of meaningful relationships, work and service.

“After reading that article last December, I knew then that I wanted to do more in my local community to help foster care students who want to receive a college education,” Houston said. “According to Promise2Kids, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to foster children, only 10% of former foster youth will attend college, and, of that 10%, only 3% will graduate.”

“I am excited to have worked with JCCC on this new scholarship as we broke new ground for foster care students in a learning environment that will set them up for success,” Houston said. “I look forward to adding more students to my scholarship as this program gets up and running. How cool this will be for additional communities and other community colleges to look to JCCC and to set up their own foster student programs. I look forward to more people and organizations coming onboard with aid for foster care students.”

Allen praised Houston for taking the initiative to set up this scholarship package for foster care students.

“There are few scholarships across the country and in this region devoted strictly to foster care students,” Allen said. “This package that Houston has established with JCCC, in particular, is somewhat unique in that it goes beyond tuition assistance to help the recipient with living expenses.”

To apply for this scholarship, visit www.jccc.edu/scholarships and click on “Scholarship Application Login.” Review of applicants for the Linda K. Houston Random Acts of Kindness Scholarship will begin Sept. 1.

People interested in donating to JCCC scholarship can contact the JCCC Foundation at 913-469-3835 or visit www.jccc.edu/foundation and click on “donate now.”

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