this is what the blue lollipop road memorial scholarship does!

this is what the blue lollipop road memorial scholarship does!

As you all know, I awarded the inaugural Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship last year. The scholarship fund was established in 2012 in honor of the spirit and zest for life embodied by two former Mount Anthony Union High School soccer players, Maria Greene and Brandy Brown, who were killed in a car accident in 1994. (My friends- the incredible girls BLR is dedicated to.) The mission of this scholarship is to encourage a commitment to maintaining an active lifestyle, and to support travel for education and self-empowerment. The scholarships were awarded to not one, but two deserving MAU soccer playing students last year because alumni and community members were so generous with donations! These scholarships were a one-time monetary gift, awarded to Hannah Patterson & Raheema Madanay for:

*Participating in a MAU student exchange program;

*Taking a “Gap” Year between graduation and post-secondary education; and/or

*Going on an adventure travel trip intended for personal growth.

Here are Hannah and Raheema below:

BLR Memorial scholarship winners Raheema Madanay and Hanna Patterson

Hannah has shared the story of what she used her scholarship funds for, along with some great photos below:

     Hi, my name is Hannah Patterson. Last year I won the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship with my fellow classmate Raheemah Madany. I used some of the money I won as part of the scholarship to travel to Nicaragua with the Rotary Interact club at my school. This is a service trip taken every two years to the Sister City of Bennington Vermont, Somotillo, Nicaragua. I spent nine days in 90+ weather with about 20 other high school students. During these days our group worked with the Social Commission of Somotillo to help the community in any way we could.
     This included going to a few local schools and working with the kids as well as handing out dental supplies, painting a church, planting over 100 shrubs at the only hospital in Somotillo, delivering over 65 suitcases full of medical supplies to the hospital, helping to build a roof for the newly constructed kitchen in the Mother’s and Infant’s Center, painting a mural at one of the schools and much more. 
     Although doing all of the projects was more gratifying than anything I have ever done before, for me the greatest experience was being able to interact with the people and become fully immersed in their culture. The people of Somotillo were some of the happiest people I had ever seen and it was truly inspiring to see that even without the material items of first world countries, they were much more content than many who live here. Every day local children would come to where we were staying and invited us to play soccer (in which they completely put us to shame), or to come be a part of their community. Whether that was eating in the houses of many different families, listening to music, watching cultural dances, or best of all playing games, they were always willing to show us their lives.
      As traveling is a big part of my life, I was intrigued by a saying that one of our guides shared with us. In essence, once we have experienced this we are now “perfectly ruined” in the sense that we can no longer ignore the poverty that consumes a majority of the world and even in our first world lives we can not ignore the struggles that others face throughout the world. This trip allowed me to experience another culture without so much of a tourist’s perspective, which I have not been able to do before now. Being immersed in the culture gave me a more complete understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the world. I am grateful that I received this scholarship because it allowed me to further my passion for traveling and grow as a person. I am glad to say that I have been “perfectly ruined”.

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

How inspiring and memorable are these photos? (And yay for some soccer playing fun too!) Love it all.

I’m so glad Hannah said she is now “perfectly ruined.” I felt the exact same way about myself as soon as I stepped off the plane in Germany during my 1994 student exchange trip. To this day my Mother always jokes that I “never came back the same.” She’s right. Once you jump out of your everyday surroundings, experience other cultures (in the US or abroad), and work side by side with people you’d never otherwise meet in your regular daily life- your eyes open to a bigger world than you ever knew existed and you grow in a way you can’t describe. It’s as if when you’re submersed in any “place” outside your comfort zone, you change in an instant and you’re inspired to do, be, and see more. Your confidence grows, you suddenly “get” what really matters, and a drive is born inside you to really live more each day. I took my trip abroad nearly 20 years before Hannah, but it sounds like she had the same type of rich, unforgettable, life altering time that I did too. I can’t wait to see what she does with her next 20 years. I have a feeling there will be wonderful things to come.

Thanks for sharing Hannah! I’m so proud of you. This is a fantastic example of why creating BLR Play It Forward and the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund has meant so much to me. I truly believe that travel changes and enriches lives. I’m glad it has changed and enriched yours!

Thank you to all my fellow MAU alumni who paid registration fees to participate in BLR Play It Forward 2012 and to all the community members who generously donated to help fund this scholarship! Hannah’s story illustrates my dream coming true. It’s always been my goal with Blue Lollipop Road, to provide an avenue, an opportunity, for young people to see that there’s a whole big world out there- and that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Your support made this happen! Together we can keep the next generation healthy, active in community, and traveling for education and self-empowerment. I can’t wait to award another scholarship this year on July 13th with all your support again, and to see where the next deserving MAU student adventures, to learn and grow..

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