Charity tops $100k in grants to deserving high school seniors


On Saturday, April 9, high school senior Wing Lam will be awarded a $4,000 “Anything is Possible” scholarship during the East Valley Women’s League’s “Sweet Charity” luncheon and fashion show fundraiser at Arizona Grand Hotel in Ahwatukee.

Diana Shaw, community partners chairperson for EVWL and a south Tempe resident, said that although the non-profit organization has awarded more than $110,000 in college scholarships to single mothers and underprivileged students through Maricopa Foundation and the ASU Foundation since developing its scholarship program in 2004, the “Anything is Possible” award is the first one that is being given to a college-bound female high school senior.

Lam attends Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee.

“We decided to do something special like this because we had had success with fundraisers, and we thought this would fit into our theme of honoring women and children in our area,” Shaw said, adding that Lam’s scholarship is a collaborative effort between EVWL and the Tempe Union High School District Education Foundation.

“We had connections with the Tempe Union High School District, and we let them know what we were doing. We already had an existing relationship with them because we provide hundreds of backpacks to students every year.”

Shaw said the district helped spread the word about the scholarship competition.  Twenty-six TUHSD senior girls from the applied, all of whom had to meet criteria like a minimum grade point average of 2.5, a demonstrated financial need, commitment to the community, aspirations in life that involve continued commitment to education, and a minimum of two letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors.

Debbie Houk, fundraising chair for EVWL who also is a south Tempe resident, was a member of the selection committee.  Reading through the applications, she said she realized the importance of the decision she and the others had to make.

“We were really going to be making a difference in someone’s life, and the applications made me see what a great need there is out there.”

In addition to awarding Lam her scholarship, Shaw said the event will feature interesting and inspiring members of the community modeling unique designs from area boutiques. Models scheduled to appear include Candice Nagel, owner of Aunt Chilada’s and Rustler’s Rooste restaurant and local philanthropist, and Mary Lou Taylor, retired teacher and current member of the Tempe Union High School Governing Board.

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on about 100 auction items, including jewelry, a vacation in Rocky Point, and home décor items.

Houk and Shaw both said they are thrilled to give the scholarship money to Lam.

“This is a wonderful girl and she has a wonderful mother, and I feel so lucky to have met her,” Houk said. “When times are tough, these types of awards have an even larger impact. This is when you realize that all of the time you have spent fundraising is worth it.”

“It was awesome to meet her in person,” Shaw agreed, adding that Lam has already been told about her scholarship.

“She is a wonderful young woman, and her family is so grateful. This is what it’s all about—giving deserving children a hand up.”

Tickets to the event are $75 per person.  Very limited space is still available and reservations are required.  For more information contact Sandy Gertsch at .



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