During Tuesday evening's 2012 Foundation Scholarship Awards Ceremony, the 12th year of the celebration, 37 students were awarded more than $130,000 for the pursuit of higher education.
The event, hosted at the , was a packed house and awarded students in Norwalk housing programs money to pursue collegiate goals. Norwalk Housing Foundation members were excited for yet another year to encourage the advancement of education.
"About 12 years ago we came up with this idea for a scholarship fund," said Curtis Law, Norwalk Housing Authority Executive Director. "At that time we discovered not many residents considered attending an institute of higher learning an attainable or realistic goal."
So Law said the foundation set out to raise awareness that it wanted to help send kids to college and, in their first year, received an overwhelming response.
"We had so many people seeking assistance, there wasn't enough money," said Law. "The notion of going to college hadn't been on many people's radars. We had to hit the pavement and go door-to-door to raise funds."
Candace Moyer, National Housing Foundation Committee Member, said the program awarded 199 grants to 114 students in 2011, some repeat students from previous years. The program so far had 57 graduates come out of the program since it's foundation, and roughly 30 students still in school.
Suria Ceja, recent graduate of UConn, was present at the ceremony to address awards recipients, a beneficiary of the program herself.
"If it hadn't been for the Norwalk Housing Foundation, I probably wouldn't have gone to the University of Connecticut," said Ceja, a psychology major, prior to the ceremony. "They made it possible for me to go to school where I wanted to go to school."
Alexandra Luna, Norwalk Housing Foundation committee member, is also a success story of the NHF. The first of her family to graduate college, Luna said she loves watching the NHF foster so much potential.
"I was an '05 graduate from Fairfield University," Luna said. "Once I graduated, I got a job, started saving, began working for a Norwalk company where I am currently managing 27 people and I bought a house that I moved my mother to, out of public housing. I love being on this committee because I see a little bit of myself in all of these kids."
And that, Law said, is the secret to minimizing his necessity.
"You want to take people out of public housing? Help give them an education."