Scholarship support shows generosity

To the editor:

I am writing to promote awareness of the Oberlin Community Youth Scholarship Fund, one of Oberlin’s less obvious gems. Additionally, I want to thank the Oberlin community for their past and present support of OCYSF.

After working many years in Oberlin schools, Ruby Jones retired in 1998 and enlisted the help of others in the community to found OCYSF. Since then, OCYSF has provided over $200,000 in scholarship aid to 42 Oberlin graduates and currently assists 13 students at 10 different accredited institutions. With the 2018 graduation, OCYSF will mark 20 years of operation.

OCYSF solicits donations — of any amount — from the Oberlin community and acts as a conduit to apply those funds to aid Oberlin School District graduates. Funded entirely by donations, OCYSF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, volunteer organization. With no paid staff, approximately 95 percent of funds received go to scholarship payments for students, the rest being used for operating costs.

OCYSF is managed by a board of persons from the Oberlin community which deliberately strives to maintain a diversity that reflects the character of the community. As founder, Ruby Jones remains a member of the board, with ongoing activities of the organization being led by a board-elected chairperson and officers.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of need, written applications, and personal interviews. Each recipient is paired with a board member who will act as a “mentor.” In 2017, OCYSF was able to award four scholarships of $6,000 each, distributable over four years, to these recipients:

• Jordan Anderson, attending Hiram College.

• Caitlin Hershberger, attending Baldwin Wallace University.

• Maliyah Stevens, attending Cleveland State University.

• Journey Toole, attending Hiram College.

On behalf of OCYSF, I want to express our deep gratitude to the Oberlin community for its remarkable generosity. I emphasize that OCYSF is truly a community endeavor, dependent on that Oberlin generosity. It is, as well, an affirmation of this community’s support for and investment in the hopes and aspirations of its youth.

Delbert Mason, M.D. (retired)

Chair, Oberlin Community Youth Scholarship Fund