Ava's Grace Scholarship Foundation, a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization, provides college scholarships to Missouri teens with parents in prison, has awarded scholarships to 16 Missouri students, including eight new scholars in 2015.
The class of 2015 scholars include Christopher Andry, Preston Pinnell, Christopher Perkins, Torrian Collins, Alijah Nelson, Rico Beuford, Telisha Lambert and Lukas Heading. Each will receive a four-year scholarship of up to $5,000 each year for college, trade school and/or technical program expenses.
This year, 75 percent of the new scholarships went to young African-American men from St. Louis city and county, thanks in large part to a private donation after the Ferguson protests. The donation supports scholarships for African-American men, who have historically been underrepresented in college programs.
"At a time when many will be looking back on the events of last August, we know education – particularly in families with incarcerated parents – will be a huge part of moving communities forward," said Ava's Grace founder and chairman Stephanie Regagnon. "It's more important than ever to support these inspiring young adults, all of whom represent what can be accomplished in the face of tremendous challenge."
Ava's Grace was founded in 2010 by St. Louis-area resident Regagnon, whose mother was imprisoned when she was a young adult. While visiting her mom, Regagnon met dozens of children whose parents were incarcerated. She later decided to start the Ava's Grace Scholarship Foundation, which provides four-year partial college scholarships to children with jailed parents.
Learn more about Ava's Grace Scholarship Foundation at www.avasgrace.org.