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Youth Exchange “Full Ride” Scholarship

rye02The State of Jefferson Rotary eClub believes Youth Exchange (YE) changes student’s lives. We intend to do a district wide fund raiser for a “Full Ride” Year Long Scholarship for a low income student. The student will be selected from applicants across District 5110. We want to involve all clubs in both finding applicants and helping to raise this small amount of money.

Some clubs provide a scholarship to students in their area but we want a program across the district.

The District YE Committee has estimated that the total cost of an exchange is about $8,200 to $9,200. Our current district fees are $6,200 to get the student insured, prepared, a Visa, ticketed to their country, and any host country fees. The host country provides room and board, school fees plus a small allowance. Families still need to provide some money for extra allowance, and district sponsored trips. $2,000 to $3,000 can be needed by the student to make sure they can take full advantage of the exchange experience. The student we select should not be worried about money when going with friends to a movie, for food, or shopping for necessities while on exchange. Prior to leaving there are costs for medical and dental reviews – and vaccinations. We may need to purchase clothing, and phone/camera for the country selected.

Our funding needs depend on what the income level is for the student we pick. This makes it difficult to decide if we need $8K or $10K. We don’t want to give the student any more than is needed, but we don’t want to come up short, so I am asking for $10K. What do we do with any leftover money? 

Due to the scope of our program, all the clubs need advance notice that this is coming for Rotary year 2015-2016. We need club support at the end of this Rotary year to start working with the schools before school lets out. If we wait until the new rotary year to start we will probably not get the clubs and schools organized enough to find the right applicants.

This program would extend outside the normal group of clubs involved in youth exchange. Clubs can help without the normal issues associated with hosting a student. The clubs that can't afford the cost of hosting might be able to make a donation. If they plan on making a donation, we need to make sure we give them time to put it in their budget. Finding applicants would not require funding, just some work.

This program will extend over three Rotary years and primarily effect DG 2015-16 John Bushnell’s year but it will also need the help of DG 2014-15 Tim Mobley. I propose some promotional involvement at District Meetings. We don't want to hijack these meetings, and won't be allowed too, but a few minutes of comments from someone would help remind everyone about what is going on and the impact this will have on someone’s life.

Timeline

  • January 2015 - Information Kickoff: District E-News and other 
  • Pre-Pets 2015 - Information
  • District Assembly 2015 – Information
  • April 2015 - Start talking to the schools
  • District Conference 2015 - This could be the start of actually collecting funds.
  • July 2015 – New Rotary year, fundraising begins
  • September 2015 - Interested applicants are to contact the District YE Committee
  • November 1, 2015 - Applications are due
  • November 21? 2015 - Interviews
  • March 2016 - Bulk of funding needed
  • Pre-Pets 2016, District Assembly 2016, District Conference 2016 – Final push for funds
  • August 2016 - Balance of Funding due
  • August 2016 to June 2017 - Student on Exchange

eClub Issues

The eClub needs to take the lead in coordinating the district in this effort. We can’t do the project without the other District clubs. Electronic communications is our specialty. So we can keep everyone focused.
We need a eClub E-mail team to communicate with other club officers in the district about both finding students and raising funds. We can break the district clubs into small groups and assign a club member to work with them. We don’t want to irritate people but have friendly contact to make sure they see what this will do for a student.

Funding Options

Our club can request a matching grant up to $2,000.
A District wide program can ask for many times more. I think it will be easy to find a lot of clubs to partner with. We would need $5,000 in matching funds to meet our goal.
Ask for Donations from Rotary Clubs.
If we get an average of $135 per club, we reach our goal of $10,000.
Ask clubs to seek donations from members:

Promotional flyers.   
Have the YE Students promote the fund raiser at 2015 District Conference during the World Fair.   Partner with the District Youth Exchange Committee for a reduced rate. We can see how things are going before we need this option.

Joint eClub and Youth Exchange Committee Issues:

Promotion

Get the word out to all the schools in the district. This program can be used to get Rotary into the few schools that are AFS only. All the clubs, including the non-participating in YE clubs will need to look for applicants.
Make a presentation at RYLA.
Prepare promotional flyers. These would have two points. Finding applicants, and finding money.

Youth Exchange Committee issues:

Application Process

Student Requirements: Outgoing, hardworking, and in August 2016, they must have completed sophomore year but not started their senior year of high school. The student should have little or no chance of financial support from their family.
Normal Application, Financial Statement, Tax Return? How do we review financial information? During interview? Some other person could provide interviewers with a financial score? We need input from someone who has done this before in other programs. The school lunch program asks the following questions:

Monthly Income (Total earnings & wages before deductions)
Monthly Child Support, Welfare, Alimony Received
Monthly Pensions, Social Security, Retirement
Other Monthly Income -Including unemployment and workers comp.

Another option is FAFSA college funding application that would provide a score that can be compared across all situations. It's easy, online and the selection committee would have a single figure to use, without invading anyone's privacy.

Interviews:

Interview Date: Saturday, November 21, 2015?  
Location: Roseburg? Penny Cole's Church?  
Any applicants not selected can go through the normal December interviews but have to raise their own money for exchange. They would need to notify the youth exchange committee of that intention by Nov 28th, 2015?  
During the interviews someone can do the normal Q&A with the parents about the program.  
This meeting will create meeting expenses not in the Youth Exchange budget.  
We may want to invite the selected student to the December Interviews so they and their parents can participate in Q&A and the World Fair.   
I don't know if we have privacy issues. Can we tell the other students who is getting the scholarship, and thus is a person of low income? Or do we quietly slip them into the program. We don’t know how many of our inbound students are on a full ride scholarship. We only find out if the student tells someone on the committee. Therefor no one in the other country will be informed by us.

Fund Raising

The eClub will do fund raising but the donations from individuals will need a donation letter from the YE committee 501(C)(3) for tax purposes.  
All checks should be sent to the YE Committee for deposit and not deposited in the eClub account.

Distribution of Funds

he funds will be used to cover the district expenses.  
Purchasing clothing may be required prior to leaving.  
The selected student will be car pooled to our district YE meetings. Depending on income level, we may want to cover expenses incurred by the parents for the December, January, April and June meetings.  
When the exchange begins the Liaison Officer (?) will approve transferring funds to the student as needed. The student will need a debit card (or other current method) to receive the money.   
In the U.S. a cell phone (with texting) is required if the student is to keep from being isolated from peers. The Liaison officer would need to determine the need and may need to work something out with the host family in the country. This phone would also provide a camera. 

We may want to have this student as a speaker at the 2016 Conference. If privacy is a concern, we may need to have a special time without the other students present. 
What do we do if the student drops out of the program? 

I’m sure more issues will pop up. Please send email to let me know your commentsLarry Holcomb
Rotary eClub of the State of Jefferson
Former District Youth Exchange Chair

 

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