Scholarships promote on-island education

The owner of boutique consulting business Dash Strategies
has created a scholarship grant programme aimed at steering young men who would
not otherwise consider completing or furthering their education into the
direction of doing so.

The programme, which recently celebrated the beginning of
its second year, was the result of owner Victor Crumbley reflecting on the
difference a scholarship from Greenlight RE made in his academic career.

“The programme has one goal and that is to inspire young
persons who would not otherwise consider completing or furthering their
education,” Mr. Crumbley said.  “The way
we do this is by providing them with financial support and targeted academic
and mentoring.”

Since its inception in 2009, the program has provided
scholarships to 13 young people to pursue further education in the Cayman
Islands in a continuing partnership with Greenlight RE.

Operating under the
belief that the $40,000 typically given to students to complete their degrees
abroad could in fact fund 15 students in need to attend institutions on island,
the scholarship was born.

Student Michael Gourzong’s success is a direct result of
this programme.

Reaching out to unemployed Caymanian men who were not
currently enrolled in a higher education institution, identifying educational
programmes that matched their interests and mentoring young men were three
items Dash Strategies felt needed to be included.

“Mentoring is a vital part of the programme as many of
these young persons have complicated backgrounds.  Many do not know how to access support or
assistance or so do not believe that it is available to them,” Mr. Crumbley
said.  “In most cases, they simply need
to know that someone on their side and wants them to have a bright future.  It’s about empowering them to take advantage
of the opportunities available.”

To date, nine of the 13 students in the scholarship
programme are still enrolled or have gained employment in the scholarship grant
programme.

Mr. Gourzong was able to attend and successfully complete
a certificate course at UCCI in electronics and electrical insulation.

He’s now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in auto mechanics,
management and high performance from the New England Institute of Technology
through a student loan programme.

“The scholarship helped my family and I a great
deal.  (Mr. Crumbley) was always checking
up on how I was doing with my classes and was willing to help me find any
assistance I needed in order to finish my course,” Mr. Gourzong said.  “I had to do my part in all of this which was
to keep up my grades and complete this course. 
I enjoyed my first year at college and the experience, and the
environment that UCCI had to offer.  It
is another milestone in my journey to completing a college degree.”

Greenlight RE’s CEO Len Goldberg added: “We have
partnered with (Mr. Crumbley) for five years, first as a student in our
scholarship programme and now providing financial assistance for his
vision.  We are pleased that he is using
his talents to provide opportunities for often overlooked people.”

The Department of Children and Family Services,
Department of Employment Relations and Dash Strategies were among the agencies
that referred students to the programme.

Success in the scholarship grant programme is defined by
whether the participant has gained meaningful employment, or has completed or
is still enrolled in an education programme.

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