(CHESTER, PA, May 13, 2020) – Three Chester Housing Authority residents have each been awarded a $1,000 scholarship to support their continuing college education.

Ciani Hodges, Thomas Jarrett and Dai’Shona Jones just finished their academic years at Neumann, West Chester and Morgan State Universities, respectively, and will put the scholarship money toward their fall semesters.

The students received the “Making A Difference” (“M.A.D”) award last week from the Chester Housing Initiatives, Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of the housing authority.

“We support education in any way we can, and this scholarship program is another small way we can help,” said Chester Housing Authority Executive Director Steven Fischer. “We also know that during these stressful times brought on by COVID-19, students will need even more supplemental support as funding becomes scarcer and part-time jobs may not be as easy to come by.”

“This scholarship means a lot to me, especially in the wake of this pandemic because I am currently out of work,” said Ciani Hodges, who is majoring in English with a minor in history. “I typically work as much as I can in the summer to pay for my books and my tuition, but I am not able to this summer due to the circumstances. Winning the M.A.D scholarship has eased some of the stress of having to worrying about how I will pay for my school expenses next semester.”

“This brings me a step closer to making a difference in my community,” said Thomas Jarrett, a rising senior majoring in social work. “During dark unprecedented times such as these, there are members of the community who are voiceless and without resources who want change. As a future social worker, it is my goal to advocate for the voiceless, and identify resources for those who are in need.”

“Receiving this scholarship means everything to me,” said Dai’Shona Jones, a rising junior psychology major and resident assistant. “It will allow me to continue to be the person that I want to be for myself, my family, as well as my city. When I graduate, I want to be remembered as the young lady from Chester, Pennsylvania who worked hard, stayed involved, and made a difference on the campus of Morgan State University.”

The M.A.D. scholarship was founded last year as a way to assist college-enrolled residents who show strong academic success and involvement in extracurricular activities.  CHA Director of Housing Operations, Norman Wise, suggested the creation of a permanent scholarship fund after kick starting it with a personal donation of $1,000, which was awarded to public housing resident and student Paul Mays Jr. in 2019.

Now in its second year, the program was able to increase its scholarships from one to three, in large part from donations from local businesses, including SERVPRO of Southern Delaware County and West Chester.

“SERVPRO is very proud to participate and contribute to CHA’s scholarship program, as we feel it is important to assist students in realizing their dreams and reaching their fullest potentials,” said Danielle Mortimer, Sales & Marketing Manager for SERVPRO of West Chester and Southern Delaware County. “Providing an annual gift to M.A.D not only provides financial support for many students’ education, but we feel we are also making an investment in their futures and the development of our upcoming leaders in our world today and into tomorrow.”

“Our goal had always been to increase the number of award recipients, and I am grateful for our generous business partners for helping us reach that goal,” said Fischer. “And since times are tough for everyone right now, their compassion is felt that much more.”

chester housing