The African American Police Officers League (AAPOL) has expanded its scholarship eligibility program in its stepped-up effort at fundraising in order to award a record $12,000 in scholarships this year.
AAPOL President Eric Carr points out that the group has expanded its eligibility pool to the graduating seniors of all current and retired HPD officers. In addition, “community scholarships” will be awarded to eligible Houston area high school seniors not in any way related to HPD officers.
AAPOL Vice President Deandre Hutchison said, “For the first time we are setting aside money for community scholarships. This is part of our interaction with the communities we serve. We have contact with various high schools, school counselors and community leaders. We are pushing this scholarship and want to get a lot of kids to apply for it.
“When you can apply for local scholarships your chances of winning increases exponentially when you don’t have a good chance to win the bigger national scholarships.”
This year AAPOL will award eight $1,000 scholarships and two at $2,000.
Hutchison pointed out that AAPOL’s community fundraising efforts have increased recently in order to expand a scholarship program that has generally resulted in the awarding of about two or three $500 scholarships in a typical funding year. They were only for members and their dependents.
“Now with dependents of all HPD current and retired officers eligible,” Hutchison pointed out, “We can help defray the cost of college for more parents.
He stressed that the funding drive to raise the needed funds provides officers with yet another way to emphasize community policing, saying, “The police need the community and the community needs the police. It’s always a collaborative effort.
“The community helped us raise the funds and this is a way of giving back to the communities we serve.”
Hutchison said the application process also includes the submission of an essay. This year’s topic: Bullying in schools. Is the administration (at the applicant’s school) doing enough to protect them from bullying?
“We want to award the best and the brightest,” Hutchison said. “If we have stellar students not affiliated with officers we want them to compete. They will only be eligible for the $1,000 scholarships.”
AAPOL has awarded its scholarships annually since 2014. Carr and Hutchison were excited to point out that they believe community fundraising efforts will increase, enabling the league to enhance its community partnerships and help “minimize parents’ out-of-pocket expenses” for the college education of their sons and daughters.
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