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Helping students who give back

Since 2004, we’ve awarded college scholarships to Arizona high school seniors who volunteer in our community.

This year, we awarded $60,000 to students in a virtual awards ceremony on May 4, 2021. The number of awards and total dollar amount awarded is the largest in our history.

“Every time we go through the selection process, we often expand the number of scholarships because we’re so impressed by the accomplishments of the students,” said President and CEO of Desert Financial, Jeff Meshey.

To qualify for the scholarship, students needed to complete 50 or more hours of volunteer service, have a 3.0 GPA or higher and plan to attend an Arizona college or university in the fall.

Eighteen students were awarded with a $2,500 scholarship; one student received a $5,000 award and one received a $10,000 scholarship.

We revealed the dollar amounts of the scholarships during the awards ceremony and surprised the students with a new iPad10 with a protective case!

Congratulations to all the remarkable students we honored this year! Check out a few of their volunteer activities.

$10,000 Winner

Vibha Kannan (Anthem Preparatory Academy) volunteered with service events through the Lions Club, and also delivered food trays while volunteering with Abrazo Hospital.

$5,000 Winner

Amaya Jones (Deer Valley High School) volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Girl Scouts, serving as a program leader where she taught and mentored youth.

$2,500 Winners

SaBrian Acosta (Chandler High School) volunteered with Si Se Puede, helping with workshops and recreational activities for youth.

Koraima Alonzo (La Joya Community High School) packed food boxes at a food bank and volunteered with Feed My Starving Children.

Keryn Aponte (Shadow Mountain High School) helped with renovations, cleaning and babysitting at a recovery meeting center.

Noemi Caballero Rodriguez (Phoenix Coding Academy) packed and distributed food at St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Makenzie Carleton (Betty H. Fairfax High School) volunteered with Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital, stocking supplies and cleaning.

Adriana Castro-Soto (Betty H. Fairfax High School) volunteered with Helping Families in Need, translating for clients and distributing food.

Haley Gnam (Home School) helped the elderly with household chores through a church outreach program.

Demari Hackett (Valley Vista High School) assisted with children’s programs with United Cerebral Palsy.

Samara Hagan (Washington High School) volunteered at a recreation center with the City of Phoenix.

Andi Lian (Ridgeline Academy High School) volunteered with the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine Council.

Karina Mercado Maravilla (Phoenix College Preparatory Academy) coordinated games and activities for patients at Haven Health Care.

Joseph Martinez (Brophy College Preparatory) tutored elementary students in Chemistry, Math and Spanish.

Mackenzie Milczarek (Perry High School) volunteered as a junior coach for a Robotics Team.

Kristie Noel (Queen Creek High School) volunteered with outreach programs providing meals, house painting and yard work.

Carlos Quintero (Corona del Sol High School) volunteered with the Key Club, supporting Kiwanis Club sponsored events.

Adam Stewart (Desert Vista High School) helped patients and visitors at the information desk at Banner Hospital.

Sarahi Trujillo (Alhambra High School) volunteered as a tutor for students through the organization Stand for Children.

Anna Villard (Valley Vista High School) volunteered with the Girl Scouts, supporting the Girl Voice and Girl Voting programs.

Congratulations to our 2021 Community Service Scholarship winners! Applications for the 2022 program will be available at the beginning of January.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.