(Update 9/14/11: The 2011 scholarship winners have been selected. To view a list of winners visit www.deshae.org/cmms/awards/2011/scholars.pdf. Applications for quality of life grants continue to be accepted and are awarded on an ongoing basis.)
CMMS Deshae Lott Ministries, a nonprofit based in Bossier City, La., has announced a second year of scholarships to be offered to people with physical disabilities pursuing education beyond bachelor's degrees.
The nonprofit also offers quality-of-life grants to help people with disabilities stay in or return to their homes, avoiding institutionalization.
Deshae Lott, who holds a Ph.D. in English and has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), says her organization’s Outreach Program is awarding scholarships because few opportunities exist for people with disabilities to receive support for education beyond the bachelor's level.
Lott says that students with disabilities face extra expenses related to personal care that other students do not, and the scholarships are intended to help scholars defray such costs.
The deadline for scholarship applications is July 1, and the winners will be announced around Labor Day.
The first three scholarship winners were Jeff Lester, who is pursuing his master's degree in business and finance and has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Tess Hazenberg, who is pursuing her master's degree in social work and has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA); and Park McArthur, who has a master's degree, is studying art and has LGMD. The three winners received scholarships between $500 and $1,000. In future years, the organization hopes to increase the amount of the scholarships and/or to award more scholarships by expanding its donor base.
Lott’s nonprofit also offers quality-of-life grants to those needing help to stay in, or return to, their homes due to physical disability. The amounts offered for these grants are usually smaller than the educational scholarships (in the $250 to $300 range), unless funds can go directly to medical providers or to a special needs trusts existing on behalf of the applicant.
Such limits are necessary to avoid jeopardizing government benefits and services that the applicants currently receive or are on waiting lists to receive.
The first recipient of a quality-of-life grant was Philip Soen, who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. The award, announced in December 2010, was for $500.
Applications for quality-of-life grants are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applicants are usually contacted within six to eight weeks, and awards are announced each December.
About CMMS Deshae Lott Ministries
Lott's nonprofit, which she founded in 2007, has a Christian orientation (the CMMS in the title stands for Christian Metaphysicians and Mystics Society), but Lott stresses that the organization's participants come from various faith backgrounds. Outreach Program awards are nondenominational and nonsectarian.
Funding for the scholarships and grants comes from donations by people wishing to support the Outreach Program. Funding also comes from donations the nonprofit receives for Lott’s work conducting weekly study groups on spiritual topics and offering prayer and counseling support to participants.
To learn more about the Deshae Lott Ministries Outreach Program scholarships and quality-of-life grants, including application forms and how to make tax-deductible contributions to these programs, please visit the Deshae Lott Ministries website, Facebook page, or email Deshae Lott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information also can be found in a Quest News Online article about last year’s winners.