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CAB Winners 2019

$205,000 + 49 Students = Bright Futures

Community Action Board Scholarship program breaks down financial barriers for students to reach educational goals

Year after year, Hillsborough County's Community Action Board Scholarship program has helped pay the way for hundreds of students working to further their educations, including awarding $205,000 in scholarships this year.

Hillsborough County Social Services partners yearly with the Community Action Board (CAB) to offer scholarships, worth up to $5,000 each, to eligible students wishing to continue their post-secondary education. The scholarships can be used at trade schools, community colleges, or four-year universities.

The magnitude of how a CAB Scholarship affects a student from day one is not lost on any of the recipients, including two-time CAB Scholarship recipient Aja Taylor, who is studying psychology at St. Leo University. "Each step I take is because of this scholarship."

The 49 hard-working scholarship recipients who make up this year's class, including Aja and fellow returning recipient Mustafa Urfi, will attend 17 different schools in the fall to study subjects ranging from biomedical science and business management to psychology and biomedical physics.

"Without this opportunity, I wouldn't be where I am. Without it, I wouldn't be going after all of my dream majors," said Mustafa, a five-time CAB Scholarship recipient and University of South Florida student. Thanks to the scholarship program, he is able to go after a double-major and continue on into the health care field to help others.

"It's a lifeline for me to go USF, to go college in general, and not have to worry about the financial side of it," said Mustafa. "It's a whole load off your mind that you can just think about school, and only school, and succeeding."

By affording students the opportunity to focus on their studies, and not school bills, the CAB Scholarship program gives students not only the ability to graduate with a degree, or in Mustafa's case degrees, but also the ability to pay it forward. In last five years alone, over $1.1 million has been awarded to more than 270 deserving students, like Mustafa and Aja.

"When you find young people who are motivated, who want to improve their lives, who want to go to the next level, it becomes an easy choice to provide scholarships for these young people so they can go to college and be able to give back to the community once they get their degrees," said Greg Spearman, CAB member.

And as the Class of 2019 walked across the stage to receive their certificates this year, they already were thinking about how they plan to pay it forward.

"I plan to help other kids and be able to walk them through situations like I went through while I was growing up. And be able to help them and let them know that there is someone out there who cares," said Aja. "Thank you for seeing my potential."

A group of first-time Community Action Board Scholarship recipients on stage during scholarship ceremony.

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