By Lauren PoindexterFebruary 1, 2013
The new year has come and applications for scholarships and community grants from the Army Officers Wives Club of the Greater Washington Area are currently being accepted. Each year, the Fort Myer Thrift Shop partners with the AOWCGWA to raise money that is awarded to the children and spouses of U.S. Army personnel.
Scholarships are awarded based on merit. SAT and ACT scores, community involvement and an application essay are factors the committee looks at when deciding who will receive a scholarship. Applications can be found on AOWCGWA's website and must be completed and postmarked by March 30.
"There is a hard deadline by mail. We will be checking postmarks. Anything dated after 30 March will not be accepted," said Debbie Fix, co-chair of the AOWCGWA scholarship committee.
There are three different categories for scholarship applicants: high school student, college student and spouse. High school students must be in their senior years, college students must be already attending a college or university, and spouses must be attending a college or university or plan to enter school in 2013 to be eligible. Applicants attending a service academy or already receiving full scholarships are not eligible.
"The money goes to the school and is used toward tuition fees, books and anything else charged by the school that is education-related," said Ellen Pirog, the other co-chair on the scholarship committee. The number of scholarships and the amount awarded varies and depends solely on how much money is raised through consignments and sales at the thrift shop. With only five staff members, and more than 60 volunteers, the thrift shop earned a record-breaking $228,500.00 last year.
The organization would like to meet that goal again by encouraging more people to come to the secondhand store.
AOWCGWA would also like to see an increase in the number of spouses applying for the scholarships. "We have reached out to various counselors throughout Fairfax County, particularly at Fort Belvoir due to their large population of [resident] enlisted Soldiers … in hopes that it will draw in more spouses," said Fix. "[Recipients] have to be Army, but they don't have to live at Fort Myer."
An award ceremony will be held in May for those who have received scholarships.
Each year, the AOWCGWA provides community grants to individuals and organizations that provide services and/or support for the military community. Grant requests are reviewed by the Welfare/Community Grants Committee as they are received. Requests must be received no later than April 17.
To apply for a scholarship or grant, log onto aowcgwa.org and click on the scholarships and grants tab to obtain application information and forms, as well as contact information for any questions. (Poindexter is a student trainee in the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs Office.)