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Grayson Resident Wins Jean Childs Young Fellowship

Heather Davis, of Grayson, has been awarded the Jean Childs Young Fellowship for Graduate students.

Just a couple of weeks after taking second place and a $1,000 Scholarship through the Trufit Good Citizen Scholarship from Citizens Bank, Heather Davis, of Grayson, has been awarded the Jean Childs Young Fellowship for graduate students. She received this award after writing an essay on how she and her studies embody Jean Child Young's beliefs and values.

According to Josie Davis, Heather's mother, the Jean Childs Young Fellowship was established in 2005 following Young's death in 1994. Young was the wife of Civil Rights leader and Atlanta native Andrew Young. The Fellowship is endowed through a $500,000 gift from Charles Loundermilk Sr., founder and CEO of Aaron Rents, to provide financial support for AYS graduate students in honor of Jean Childs Young. The fellowship may be used for tuition, books, room, board and other associated expenses incurred by graduate students.

"Heather was informed on August 17th, Friday, she was selected to receive the Jean Childs Young Fellowship for the 2012-2013 academic year," Josie Davis said. "As a Jean Childs Young Fellow, she will receive up to $5,000 each year ($2500 each semester) for two academic years contingent upon not exceeding the estimated cost of attending GSU as a graduate student. In addition, Heather may elect to receive a tuition waiver that will require working as a Graduate Research Assistant for up to 20 hours per week."

Heather Davis will be accepting this fellow and the GRA position immediately her mother said, adding, "We are so thrilled and thankful for such a talented daughter for receiving this Fellowship."

Davis graduated from the University of Georgia, holding on to her HOPE scholarship for the full four years. She is scheduled to complete her graduate degree at Georgia State.

The following is the essay detailing how her studies emboy Jean Childs Young's beliefs and values.

          Many of us desire to be remembered long after we have passed away. We yearn for our life to have meaning beyond 75 years of trying to climb the ladder of economic and social success. This yearning exists because we see the evidence of purposeful living from those that came before us. Ghandi, MLK, and Mother Teresea are not timeless figures simply because of their quotable words. Their actions spoke loudly and gave credibility to the words that are now used to inspire millions. A life lived with purpose and passion to better the world does not go unnoticed because we crave to leave a legacy of significance. Among those timeless figures is Jean Childs Young. Her passion to positively impact the lives of others activated transformation in an incredible way. Young may have utilized her education and experiences to forcefully advance the world of education, child welfare and civil rights; but her influence will forever inspire those from every walk of life. Simply put, Jean Childs Young devoted her life to bringing light into darkness.

          Young’s example is one among many that have inspired me to not be remembered for what I attained, but for what I gave away. As a result, the choices that I have made and will continue to make professionally are driven by my personal values. For the past ten months I devoted my life to one of my core values: advocating for those who feel they don’t have a voice.

           I volunteered full-time with a national non-profit organization to fight the high school dropout rates that plague America. For ten months I mentored high school students whose role models consisted of gang members or famous entertainers. For ten months I spent my days in classrooms as a tutor and nights on the court as a varsity basketball coach. For ten months I lived in the community where I served. For ten months I was an advocate and I absolutely fell in love with it.

          Jean Childs Young put her values into actions through dedicating her life to advocating for children and civil rights. In a similar way, I have worked in the trenches with teachers, administrators, and social workers at one of the last historically African American high schools in South Carolina to promote hope where there appears to be none. The students I served live in a modern day war zone of drug deals, gangs, and broken homes.

          Working with adolescents that struggle this immensely has been extremely challenging, but by far the most rewarding experience of my life. They are filled with such potential, but their surroundings drain them of believing that they could escape what they see everyday. Observing the struggles first hand that our young people face has brought me to this place of pursuing a Master’s of Social Work. I hope to like Jean Childs Young, be a light in the darkness and make a change that invites people to do the same.

j m davis August 20, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Congrats, Heather. You continue to make a difference.
Sharon Swanepoel August 20, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Ditto. Heather, we're proud to have people like you to report on in Patch.
T Israel August 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Congratulations Heather!! Great essay, they could not have chosen a person for this award. Good luck at GSU.
T Israel August 21, 2012 at 07:10 PM
should have read a "better" person for this award!

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