Scholarship Opportunities for Teens with Hearing Loss

By Charlene MacKenzie, HLAA-Whatcom County Co-Founder

Acting decisively on their program theme for 2024, Making a Difference, the HLAA-Whatcom County chapter is actively seeking applicants for their Founders Fund scholarships.

Who Can Apply

The scholarships are for graduating high school seniors with hearing loss in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties who want to advance their education at a 2- or 4-year institution, or a trade school. The location of the post-secondary school does not matter. What does matter is that the applicants have verifiable hearing loss. Hopefully, the scholarship program can make a difference for young people navigating their education while having a hearing loss.

In fact, this program already has made a difference. Each year since 2021, the Chapter has offered scholarships, and in 2024, they will celebrate the first scholarship recipient’s graduation from Western Washington University.

Connecting with Students

Not only is hearing loss itself invisible, but high school students with hearing loss often are as well. Searching for these students has not been easy. In 2024, the chapter formed a volunteer team to increase the awareness of the scholarships, and the team expanded the search the search beyond Whatcom County. Since then, the search team has identified the appropriate counselor to contact in each high school, phoned and alerted them to the 2024 scholarships, and then sent them the detailed information to post and share. The response has been gratifying. The counselors are excited and encouraged, pledging their support.

In January 2024, the Founders Fund team will call each high school counselor to confirm the scholarship information has been disseminated, answer any questions, and see if graduating seniors with hearing loss have been encouraged to apply. Already several potential applicants have surfaced.  

If you know any students with hearing loss that may be eligible and interested, please send them to the application at this link.  If you wish to add your financial support to the Chapter’s, you may send your tax-deductible donation to HLAA-Whatcom County, PO Box 252, Bellingham, Washington, 98227.  

HLAA-Whatcom established its Founders Fund three years ago to honor Burt Lederer (prior to his passing) and me, Charlene MacKenzie. Burt and I established the HLAA-Whatcom chapter in 2004; today, it is still thriving, despite the COVID setback.

With the Founders Fund lifting up graduating high school seniors with hearing loss, HLAA-Whatcom will be making a difference in 2024 and beyond!

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