"However great an intellectual may be, however great one may be as a scholar or a man of learning, one has also to acquire humanness. Without humanness, scholarship and intellectual eminence are of no value." -- Sri Sathya Sai Baba
She suffered a rape when she was only 5 years old. She was repeatedly abused after that, and her parents did little to stop it. But in the end, she prevailed.
In another country, a young boy walked the breadth of his native land, leaving his family and taking only what provisions he could carry, determined to seek a better life. He was 12 years old when he completed his journey.
More than 60 young men and women, including these two, met one recent Saturday morning to share their personal stories. It was difficult to listen to speaker after speaker and remain impervious when comparing our lifestyles to what they endured.
Many were progeny of broken homes and shared cramped quarters with drug addicted siblings who were constantly in trouble with the law. Others were shuttled from foster home to foster home, all the while wondering what they had done wrong to be separated from their families.
Many spoke no English when they arrived in the United States. Adjustment for them was particularly tough. But no one expressed bitterness about their past.
On the morning of March 26, those 60 young people, exemplifying the top academic students in our local community colleges, reported to Diablo
Seven three-member panels were selected to interview the candidates. Among the panelists were several past Kennedy-King recipients who now sit on the board after having completed their college educations.
Wouldn't it be great if all investments could draw that kind of interest!
Following selection of the 17 finalists, one panelist commented that he found his assignment especially difficult because every candidate was exceptional, and all deserved to be recognized.
The candidates, besides fulfilling the required number of courses in school, have held full- or part-time jobs while providing free tutorial services and performing volunteer work at their churches and in the community. How they managed to do all that while keeping up their grades is beyond me!
I've often said kids who stay out of trouble and excel in school receive little public notice. On the other hand, they realize that lip service and an album filled with clippings of their accomplishments won't get them a free cup of coffee.
Kennedy-King will host a dinner at the Crowne Plaza Concord hotel on May 18 to honor the 17 scholarship recipients, most of whom are the first in their family to have attended college ... of for that matter, high school.
Kennedy-King is an organization comprised of members come from all walks of life, but who share one common interest -- to provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships to promising minority students living in Contra Costa County. Like most nonprofit organizations, Kennedy-King relies on grants, donations and fundraising events. And everyone on the staff is a volunteer.
For anyone wishing to contribute toward the scholarships, the amount you donate doesn't matter. When added up, your contributions will create an additional scholarship for another deserving student.
Kennedy-King is well aware of the present economy and the retired folks who live on fixed incomes. Whether you can dig up a couple of dollars or are in a position to offer a hundred of them, your donations will be most appreciated. Scholarships for deserving students are the best investment you can make to ensure America's future.
You can send your contribution, along with any comments or questions to: Kennedy-King, P.O. Box 2643, Martinez, CA 94553, or email them at kennedyking.org.
Thanks for your time ... and donation!
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at email@example.com.