Lucy Spring had best get used to standing for applause. Taking her bow at the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors luncheon, the GMU student is the recipient of the Betty Carter Scholarship for Dance.
Photo by Andrea Worker.
Eight local young women are getting some much appreciated assistance toward achieving their educational goals, thanks to the efforts of the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fund, Inc. “Actually, it’s more than just a boost for their educational endeavours,” said Ricki Harvey, past president of the fund, who now serves as the Publicity Director for GFFNSF. “We’ve had past recipients of scholarships come back to us and tell us how getting that degree changed their lives, in some cases helping them escape from abusive situations and enabling them to make new and stable lives for themselves and their families.”
The fund was founded in 1983. It is now a 501 (c)(3) non profit, designed to provide financial aid to women pursuing degrees in higher education. Administered by a 7-member board, in 2016 the GFFNSF established endowments at George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) for $25,000 each, ensuring perpetuity of monies donated by GFFN members. In recent years, they have been able to provide annual academic awards to six women over the age of 25 who attend either GMU or NVCC, as well as one award for a George Mason Dance student in the name of Betty Carter, a co-founder of the Great Falls women’s group. Thanks to the intensity of their fundraising efforts this year – with $25,000 raised at a Fashion Show in partnership with Bloomingdales of Tysons Corner, and another $5k internally through the GFFN Bridge Players group – there was enough money to add a seventh deserving academic recipient to the “honor roll.”
The Scholarship Fund made a formal presentation to those students who could attend the GFFN club year “Kick-Off Luncheon” on Sept. 9 at the Riverbend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls. The GFFN is the original “parent” organization of the Scholarship Fund, and is the result of the 2011 merger between the Great Falls Women’s Club and the Great Falls Newcomers Club. This year, their combined strengths made life just a little easier for the following young women:
Asra Amin – A graduate student working to become a nurse practitioner while supporting herself and her family of six.
Hela Baer – A second-time GFFNSF recipient majoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. A year ago, Baer was working 3 jobs and taking a full academic course load. This year, her second award will lighten her load.
Regina Bell – Enrolled in George Mason’s Accelerated Second Degree BS in Nursing program, with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner in a community health clinic.
Lea Lines – Pursuing a nursing degree, Lines still earned 3.88gpa and was still a fully involved mom, teaching Sunday school and attending a rigorous nursing program this past year.
Noushin Nourslehi – This award will allow Nourslehi, who graduated from a medical school in Iran, to become a fulltime student this year while she studies to achieve her goal of becoming a dentist.
Rebecca Postol - A single mom who graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Biology, she is also working toward becoming a nurse practitioner. Postol has done volunteer work, including a stint in Honduras with the humanitarian group “Shoulder to Shoulder,” and with a neonatal intensive care unit and at a free clinic helping Spanish-speaking patients.
Leidy Rubio – receiving the Northern Virginia Community College Scholarship.
Lucy Spring – Recipient of the Betty Carter Scholarship for Dance, Spring is either always taking arts and academic classes, rehearsing, or teaching dance to “help pay the bills.”
Amin, Baer, Bell, Postol and Spring were able to attend the function and receive their official certificates, and the warm congratulations of the Scholarship Fund and the assembled members of the GFFN club.
“I really don’t know how I got picked,” admitted Spring, who received the Betty Carter scholarship for a student majoring in dance. “But I know it will really help.” Spring is entering her last year of formal education and will soon be facing the daunting task of continuously auditioning for her next “temporary job.” “But, with help like this, I’m ready for it,” she said.
Postol was equally appreciative of the honor and the financial assistance. “I’ve had a lot of support [as a single mom of a five-year-old] from my family, and now this. This scholarship makes some of the burden a little lighter.”
The students, the scholarship board and the members of the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors enjoyed a delicious lunch and were delighted to welcome keynote speaker Arvind Manocha, President and CEO of neighboring Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Before the event came to an end, plans were already being made to continue the fundraising efforts for their on-going philanthropic concerns. GFFN president Teresa Nasif and her squad probably didn’t let anyone leave without the purchase of one – or maybe more – raffle tickets in support of their charitable causes. To learn more about the Scholarship Fund or to donate, follow them on Facebook, and check out their website at www.gffnsa.org.