Health scholarship is aimed at local youths

March 30, 2007
By

JOHN RUCH

New England Baptist Hospital (NEBH) is offering a new health care career scholarship to local students that will help pay for their schooling in exchange for a commitment to work at the hospital for at least two years after graduation.

The Community Scholarship is dedicated to Cristian Giambrone, an 18-year-old Jamaica Plain resident who was stabbed to death in 2004 by a shoplifter while working at a Longwood Medical Area (LMA) pharmacy.

Calling it “an incredible opportunity,” state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez noted that there are few locally targeted scholarships and described his struggles trying to connect local youths with the prestigious institutions in the area. He said the new scholarship targets the main challenges of “access [to schooling] and retention and connection to industry.”

“The scholarship builds upon what we’re already working on with a number of non-profits,” Sanchez said, citing as one example the Hyde Square Task Force’s Health Careers Ambassadors Program. One challenge, he said, is to “not only get kids interested [in health care careers], but to have something there for them when they do get interested.”

The Community Scholarship is just for Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill and Fenway high school seniors. It will pay up to $5,000 a year for vocational or community college training in health care.

While the recipients must agree to work for NEBH, the hospital is also promising them part-time summer jobs during their studies. Up to three scholarships will be awarded per year.

The Community Scholarship is for graduating or GED-eligible high schools seniors. The application involves an interview and a review of student grades, but academic performance by itself is not a criterion.

Scholarships specifically for JP residents are very rare. The City of Boston Scholarship Guide published by the Mayor’s Youth Council—a place Sánchez sends many students for information—lists only one.

The Doyle’s Scholarship Fund at Stonehill College in Easton offers $5,000 to a student from JP, with first preference to a “student of diversity” and second preference to a “non-diverse student with financial need.”

Many institutions offer scholarships only for Boston residents. Northeastern University offers one only to residents of Boston’s public housing developments.

Sánchez said that some local institutions help in other ways, and specifically mentioned Wentworth Institute of Technology as one that works with local students financially and academically. He also said that the effort has to be a two-way street.

“Our biggest frustration is we have a hard time generating candidates to apply,” Sánchez said. At recent community meetings, he has urged local youths to apply to Wentworth.

The application deadline for this years’ NEBH Community Scholarship is April 27. For more information, call NEBH at 754-5401. To see the city’s Scholarship Guide, go to www.BostonYouthZone.com or call 635-4500.