More than a scholarship
Winter 2017
This school year HFS scholars, mentors and board members have been very busy. This newsletter will provide you with a summary of our fun, exploration, and discovery so far this year.
More than a scholarship - HFS Chicago Scholars empowers motivated students to achieve academic success.
Dear Friends,
Life is not about how much you have, it's what you do with what you have.  The most selfless thing that a person can do is to help others. Over 20 years ago there were three HFS Scholars, today with your help there are 159 - next year we plan to add 50 more scholars. Our scholars are academically motivated, maintain high academic standing, and are leaders in their schools. Our seniors have applied to college and are now receiving acceptance letters, our juniors are preparing for ACT Prep Classes, and our underclassmen are working one on one with their Directors of Academics, participating in academic enrichment programming. Each year we aspire to make a meaningful difference in our scholars' lives, providing opportunities to achieve and succeed.  We also strive to help our community thrive by way of service and we encourage our scholars and families to do the same.  
In November we held one of our most prominent service projects, "Project Thanksgiving," which provided Thanksgiving baskets to families in need. The entire HFS Chicago Scholars family came together and shared a little of what they have to help others in need by donating food items.  Board members, Young Professionals Board members and mentors donated their time, talents and resources to help, for which I am truly grateful.   
I am thankful for our staff and mentors who contribute to our strive for excellence.  I am sincerely grateful for the generosity of our boards, our donors, and our volunteers, for without your support none of our growth would be possible. During this holiday season remember to give a little of what you have because it can make a world of difference to someone else.
Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season
~from our Family to Yours!
Sincere Gratitude,
Desirée Pepper-Venzant
Executive Director 
$100   - Send a scholar on a service trip.
$250   - Sponsor a scholar/mentor social outing.
$500   - Send an incoming freshman to a high school readiness class.
$1000 - Prepare a scholar for college by funding their ACT prep courses, campus 
              visits and admissions counseling.
$2500 - Help a scholar excel in high school by funding their academic enrichment
              programming for one academic year.
$5000 - Fully fund a scholar for one academic year. This amount covers the cost of tuition
             assistance and all academic enrichment programming.
Donate in the 2017 Tax Year by December 31st at 11:59pm!
By Mail: HFS Chicago Scholars, 1074 W. Taylor Street, Mail Suite 201, Chicago, IL 60607
Click Here: More Ways to Give
Contact: Angela Mehalek, Director of Development at or 312-421-4070
A special night out with our scholars.  We were blessed with many main floor Hamilton tickets.  Many of our scholars were able to attend their very first professional theatre production and we are so grateful that our scholars were given this opportunity!
"To say Hamilton was great is an understatement. I absolutely loved the performance! This was my first professional performance and it was amazing. Seeing Hamilton wasn’t on my bucket list but I’m scratching it off my list anyway."~ Julian
~A special thank you to HFS Board of Director, John Kavanaugh for coordinating, and Jim Rozsypal of EY for his extremely generous donation of tickets and the experience of a lifetime for many of our scholars.
 University of Notre Dame visit!
It was an amazing day to visit the University of Notre Dame campus. The fall colors were bright and gorgeous on this sunny day as 30 HFS Chicago Scholars, HURON volunteers, parents and staff journeyed the campus in November. 
In addition to the normal college tour and lunch our scholars had an opportunity to speak with our former summer interns on campus and received a personalized tour of all the athletic buildings on campus.  This was due to the help of Young Professionals Board Co-President, Brandon Walker. The trip concluded with our scholars running pass plays on the football field. 
Special Thanks to the support of Huron Helping Hands, Katie Kovacs, Sapna Patel, Lynnette McLaughlin, and Temitope Ligali. Their time and care are much appreciated!!!
The Scholars had a great time!
Project Thanksgiving Service Day!
For the fourth year HFS Scholars, Mentors, Parents, and Board Members prepared 
Thanksgiving baskets for families in need!
These baskets consisted of everything a family needs to complete a Thanksgiving meal, including the turkey. 
67 Thanksgiving Baskets 
871 Food Items
67 $25 gift cards and Turkeys
Scholars delivered baskets to neighborhood food pantries - what a wonderful gift to give to a family who would go without!  Thank you to all who donated their time, talents, and treasure to help others in need. 
~Special thanks to Board of Director, Jim O'Malley and his wife Debbie for their continued support!
  Building Mentor/ Scholar Relationships
~A Day at the Farm~ 
HFS Chicago Scholars prides itself on our strong mentoring program! 
 •     The mentor program has existed since the inception of the program.
 •     Each scholar is assigned a specific mentor; there is a 1:1 relationship.
 •     Mentors are young professionals who serve as role models to our scholars.
 •     Mentors offer guidance, assistance and friendship to our scholars.
 •     Scholars are required to maintain an active and consistent relationship with their                   mentor. This includes phone calls, emails and monthly meetings.
 •     Mentors undergo background checks and are required to attend an annual training.
* Several of our former scholars serve as mentors to current scholars.
HFS Scholars visit University of Illinois!
~Throughout the day students had an opportunity to speak with  several current HFS Alumni attending the school.  Each provided advice and words of wisdom.
What a wonderful tour!
Young Professionals Board Member Spotlight
Brandon Walker
Brandon Walker is a Regional Sales Associate for Guggenheim Investments. He studied finance at the University of Notre Dame as well as being a member of the varsity football team for 4 years (2-year starter) and has been in the finance industry since 2011. Brandon has been active as an HFS Young Professionals Board member since 2012.
Why did you get involved in HFS Chicago Scholars?
Back in college I befriended a young man with the name Marty Quintana - long story short it turned out that Marty (and his brothers) was an HFS Chicago Scholar himself.  After seeing the type of man that Marty was and how much HFS Chicago Scholars meant to him, there was a 0% chance that I would turn my back on any opportunity to be involved.
Why were you drawn to becoming a Young Professionals Board Member and what role do you play on the Board?
My first interaction with the YPB (Young Professionals Board) was volunteering for their annual Casino Night as a blackjack dealer.  After experiencing a few hours with everyone and seeing the passion for the cause, I decided I needed to step up my efforts and officially joined the YPB as a member of the Casino Night Committee.  As years passed, I continued to ramp up my efforts - became the Casino Night Co-Chair for two years before being nominated to becoming a Co-President for YPB.  There wasn't a chance that I would not accept that nomination.
What is a personal highlight from serving on the Young Professionals Board?
Every year YPB gets together to review scholar applications and for me, that's what really brings it all home.  These 8th graders that apply bare their emotions, their aspirations, and their life stories into their applications and my only regret is that we have to turn even one of them away.  For anyone who is, or even isn't, involved with HFS - I highly encourage them to sit down and read some of the applications that come through and then I would challenge them and see if they could even think about not becoming more involved.
Have there been any challenges to serving as a Young Professionals Board Member?
To my last point, the biggest challenge is knowing that there are scholars out there that want/need our help that we have to turn away.  The people of HFS Chicago Scholars do a great job fundraising and financing the cause but it will never be enough.  Some of the frustration is self inflicted because there's always more that can be done and at the end of the day, I have to look in the mirror and ask "what can I do, that I haven't done yet?"
How have you been impacted through your experience with HFS Chicago Scholars (or anything else you'd like to add)?
HFS Chicago Scholars has taught me that any little bit can help.  Rather it is someone on the YPB doing something extra, or someone volunteering to become a mentor, or a past scholar coming back to the cause, it spider-webs into something much bigger.  It may seem like only a small gesture is being made but it snowballs and being able to watch the progress throughout the years has been extremely special.
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