Every year, the Point Foundation awards a collection of deserving LGBT students in college and graduate school scholarships to continue their education and enable them to give back to the communities from which they came. This year is no different, but the 2013 class of Point Scholars is truly exceptional. With scholars hailing from all over the world, the 26 Point Scholars named this year represent a diverse array of gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and ideological leanings. Nearly half of the 2013 scholars are people of color — the highest percentage ever awarded by the foundation.
But the one thing all the Point Scholars have in common is an unyielding desire to serve, empower, and better the LGBT community. And with their unbridled passion and the newly announced support from Point, these individuals are all but certain to become the next generation of LGBT leaders, inspiring others and serving as living, breathing proof that it really does get better.
All of the Point Scholars have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership within their communities, despite facing harsh discrimination, rejection, and homophobia from those communities, and sometimes even from their own families. Every Point Scholar is paired with a professional mentor and receives training to further cultivate their leadership skills. This year's class of Point Scholars join 52 current scholars, resulting in 78 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students of merit who will receive financial assistance and support from Point during the 2013-2014 school year. Scholars also develop individual community service projects, and upon graduation, join a growing network of Point alumni that currently includes more than 150 people ready and willing to welcome the new scholars into the Point family.
“For many students — especially LGBTQ young people — cost is not the only thing keeping them from achieving a higher education degree,” said Jorge Valencia, executive director and chief executive officer of Point Foundation. “It is also a crisis of confidence. They need to see that the LGBTQ community, and society as a whole, encourages and supports their aspirations. Point Foundation Scholars are not only on the path to becoming our community’s future leaders, but they are also role models and inspiration for LGBTQ young people right now.”
Read on to meet the entire 2013 class of Point Scholars, and discover where they've come from, where they're going, and what they have to say to LGBT youth struggling with bullying, rejection, isolation, and prejudice.