First Fruits: Beyond the Leaves
Did you know that if you rake leaves for First Fruits, or provide a job for volunteers to do, or donate to First Fruits – you are also helping high school students achieve their dream of going to college? Over the past three years, thanks to the blessings of First Fruits, RBC has helped 18 students realize their dream of going to college by awarding Perseverance Scholarships (totaling over $19K) to graduating seniors at several local high schools (including Herndon, Parkview, Dominion, and Potomac Falls). The scholarship celebrates not the success that may come from persevering, but more importantly the proven character of the person who has persevered and in the process become a positive example and source of encouragement for their peers.
The scholarship recipients have had to overcome (and continue to endure, in some cases) a wide array of challenges – from financial hardships, language barriers, bullying, depression, family illness and severe debilitating injuries, to unstable homes, abuse, homelessness, divorce, and immigrating alone to the United States. Each recipient has demonstrated remarkable courage and strength of character in how they have chosen to persevere. Keep reading to learn more about two of the 2014 inspiring scholarship recipients.
ASHLYN’S STORY: Ashlyn, in the process of dealing with financial hardships, abuse, and mental illness at home, became not only an exceptional student with a 4.1 GPA, but also helped others to gain their voice and develop their talents. As a tutor she helped peers overcome academic challenges and as President of the Freethinkers Club, she encouraged others to speak freely and openly in a safe environment. Her great love for literature and music includes looking beyond the text or words for the deeper, unspoken meaning. She is much like the music she loves. As she quoted Victor Hugo in her scholarship application, “music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Thankfully, Ashlyn did not remain silent. She reached out for help and has started sharing her story and is encouraging others to reach out and have hope. A year ago, Ashlyn didn’t think college would be an option. She is now in her first year at George Mason in the honors program and plans to major in English Literature and Music. (To learn more about Ashlyn in her own words, click here.)
JUAN’S STORY: Juan is another 2014 scholarship recipient who has overcome early setbacks in life, five years in the foster care system and difficulties at home and school. But, instead of giving up and dropping out as he had seen so many friends and family members do, he took the radical step at the end of his Junior year in high school of turning away from the poor influences in his life. In one short year, he had an extensive impact on his football team, his school community, and his youth group. He is now known by his peers for his moral fiber, leading not only with words but also his actions. He is widely respected for always encouraging others on and off the playing field and for his positive attitude. He is a true team player. On his high school football team – he played every position except line and was unanimously selected as captain and MVP. He has great compassion for others enduring hard times and looks for opportunities to come alongside to help and encourage others to not give up. In his senior year, he even packed two lunches – one for himself and one to give away. He also takes great pride in a job well done – learning that “that regardless of the job assigned you should always do it to the best of your ability.” Juan is also known for his faith and desire to share the truth of Jesus Christ with those that are struggling. He speaks from experience and gives the glory to Christ in his key verses “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) and “sanctify them in your truth Lord. Your word is truth.” Juan is an exceptional leader and is currently studying business.
If you are interested in partnering with us in First Fruits, get more information or sign up at www.restonbible.org/firstfruits