Each year, thousands of students benefit from the Bright Futures Scholarship program, funded by the Florida Lottery. These students are consistently working hard toward a better tomorrow.
For many young students who are about to graduate high school or have just started college, the dream is the same: to create a better tomorrow for themselves, their families and their communities. But the hardships and questions are also often the same, especially in low-income households. How will they be able to afford going to college? Will they incur debt for years? How will they manage their time in handling multiple obligations? These are always pressing matters that deter even the best of students from pursuing their goals.
For thousands of these hard-working students trying to follow their academic dreams, the Bright Futures Scholarship has been a tool that has opened many doors, academic or otherwise. For more than three decades, the Florida Lottery has helped raise over 39 billion dollars that benefit young Floridians who might not have had the resources to attend college. So, the question shifts away from “Will I be able to go to college?” and transforms into “What university do I want to attend? What will I do to better serve my community when I graduate?” Each of these beneficiaries has goals of creating a better life and a better society.
Finding Your Path
“Positive thoughts, positive actions, positive outcomes. Keep pushing. Anything that you can think of, you can achieve it as long as you put the work in. Then, make sure that it’s not only for you, but it’s for somebody else too,” said Jasmine Givens, a Miami Gardens native and Bright Futures scholar.
Givens graduated from the University of Florida with big plans – though life had a different path for her. When she started working, she realized that there was something amiss, and the corporate path she chose was not very rewarding because she felt like she was not giving back enough. It was not until she changed course and focused on a job that let her be herself while helping others, that she felt fulfilled. She now looks at the lessons she learned along the way and shares them with others.
“Take the risk of owning your plans to go to college and being so confident in yourself that you’ll be able to obtain your dreams and live a life that’s fulfilling, and not just move through life going to work, paying bills and not enjoying it.”
People find different ways to not only give back, but to keep reaching for their dreams even after graduating. Brandi Beard, for instance, started her career as a teacher after graduating from Hillsborough Community College with an Early Childhood Education degree. Even after changing career fields, she still wants to teach, to learn and to give her time to different youth programs.
“I actually want to go back to school for Applied Engineering… I definitely want to get started on that track. That’s my next goal.”
For Brandi, those opportunities opened up in part because of the Bright Futures Scholarship, something she has always treasured as a motivation. “Sometimes you’re scared, but let the fear drive you. Don’t let it push you away. Let it drive you toward getting something done, because in the long run it works all the time, honestly.”
One might think that in order to make your mark, you have to be a highly regarded professional or a well-established figure, but that is not always the case. One of the key traits of many Bright Futures Scholarship recipients is their drive to stand out with their work from day one.
Bianka Solórzano, a Biology Student from Miami, aspires to become a Sports Medicine Professional so she can help athletes the way she was helped when she had a major sports injury during high school.
“It’s about putting yourself through the hard work in school, and you will be rewarded for your perseverance. It’s all about growing that confidence and going for that passion.”
She now balances her academic studies with her athletic commitments to the volleyball team at her college.
“I hope that I can use my influence as an athlete and inspire others. Then, when I get into medical school and get a job, I’ll use that to help and inspire others.”
The dreams and goals of every student gravitate toward the same principles. For the thousands that benefit from the Bright Futures Scholarship, the doors are open to pursue those dreams without the hassle of the hard questions about financial security, so a better tomorrow is within their reach. When given the right tools, hard work always pays off.
For more information, visit http://www.flalottery.com/brightfutures
The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $39 billion to education and sending more than 880,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 99 percent of its revenue back into Florida’s economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Lottery retailers, and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $72.5 billion in prizes and made nearly 3,000 people millionaires.
Above content provided by the Florida Lottery.