Booker T. Washington Senior High School student Ashley Milfort has won a four-year Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club Scholarship Award — valued at $30,000 — enabling the senior to attend college.
The Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club, one of South Florida’s oldest and largest community service organizations, presented the award during the school’s recent awards assembly. Nearly 1,000 students, teachers, parents and local dignitaries attended the ceremony.
Rick Freedman, Kiwanis’ scholarship committee chair, presented the award to Wilfort, who will be the first of her family to attend college. She has been accepted to the University of Florida where she will major in Business Administration.
“This was an exciting event for Ashley as well as the Kiwanis,” said Freedman, who created the scholarship award in 2007 with funds raised from the club’s annual Biscayne Bay Gala.
This year’s Gala is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Jungle Island when the club will honor Lauren Book as its Citizen of the Year.
“With the funds from the Gala, our club began purchasing prepaid scholarships through the Stanley Tate Project Stars Program whereby the State of Florida matches our money dollar-for-dollar towards the purchase of college scholarships. The second four-year scholarship came due this year and Ashley became our recipient,” Freeman added.
“Ashley is a young woman who has beaten all the odds to achieve a high grade point average (GPA), be in the top 10 percent of her class, and perform more than 1,300 hours of community service. The scholarship committee read through more than 280 pages of information from 14 seniors before deciding on Ashley. She is great representative of her family, school and our club.”
Born in the Overtown section of Miami, Milfort is the youngest of three children raised in a single parent home by her mother who works for the TSA. Over the years her family struggled, yet Ashley, 18, graduated with a 4.2 GPA while serving as the treasurer of Key Club and playing on the Booker T. Washington girls basketball team.
“Our club has already purchased several other scholarships, and we are looking forward to awarding a four-year scholarship annually for the next several years,” said club president William Reich. “We are able to give away a fully paid college scholarship and fund our other projects, such as swim lessons for 100 kids at Gibson Park this summer, thanks to the generosity of the sponsors of our annual Biscayne Bay Gala. They realize that when their giving is matched with our volunteerism, we can change our community, and the world, one child at a time.”
The Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club achieves its charitable and philanthropic goals in the community through the Kiwanis Club of Biscayne Bay Youth Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. One of the key goals of the club is to ensure that the children of historically underserved communities have access to educational opportunities — such as artistic, cultural, and science-centered programs and field trips — which have been disappearing from the schools.
For more information about the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club, visit the club’s website at www.biscaynebaykiwanis.org or call 305- 814-2225.