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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winner: North Carolina

Best Practices: Ruffin/Edward Academic Development Scholarship (READS) Program

Scholarships for Public Housing Youths Provide Opportunity

Durham, North Carolina. The Ruffin/Edward Academic Development Scholarship (READS) was established by the Housing Authority of the City of Durham and Learning Assistance, Inc. as an education-oriented nonprofit organization to provide post-secondary educational scholarships and stipends to individuals who reside in public housing. Since 1987, the program has awarded scholarships to more than 95 students.

Any students living in the Durham Housing Authority’s public housing communities who are accepted to attend a college or university

Photo of Charlie Smith & James Tabron receiving award from Secretary Cuomo & Deputy Secretary Ramirez
Charlie Smith (l) and James Tabron (rc) receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (lc) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

are eligible to apply for a scholarship. To be eligible for these scholarships, students in local high schools must complete application requirements, which include recommendations, high school transcripts, financial aid information and an essay on “Why I Wish to Continue My Education.” Funding is provided on a yearly basis and level of awards are determined by available funds. Recent scholarships were for $1,200 per year. Money can be used for tuition and books, housing or for moving expenses associated with attending an out-of-state college.

A constant challenge to maintaining a scholarship program is raising the funds to support the scholarships. The READS program has joined forces with local government agencies put on an annual recognition banquet that serves as a fundraiser for the scholarships. This partnership provides an expected, if not constant, source of funding for the program. Donations from community churches, businesses and individuals also contribute to the scholarship fund.

Recipients who have graduated are pursuing careers in fields such as accounting, education, computer specialties, television production and nursing. Several students are pursuing or have already received advanced degrees.

Keys to the success of this program include: successful fundraising; raising awareness of the program among eligible students so they will take advantage of the opportunity to apply; and finally, working closely with the colleges and universities involved, particularly the schools that students most often attend, to arrange for timely payments of the scholarships.

Contact: James Tabron, Phone: (919) 683-1551 Ext. 271
Tracking Number: 2944
Winning Category: Program (Public and Indian Housing)

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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