|ONLINE VERSION||VOLUME 106 - NUMBER 8 - SEPTEMBER 1997|
|Union MasterCard Scholarships|
|Tsang, a June 1997 high
school graduate, has a driving passion for social change.
Having interned with the San Francisco Mayor's Youth
Forum for the past two years, she is currently in charge
of a city-wide youth empowerment project, which, she
writes in her essay, helped the youths she worked with
"look beyond their own immediate problems and find
solutions to larger societal problems as well."
Tsang's social commitment was largely influenced by an experience with a group of migrant day laborers who were kicked off a store owner's property where they typically waited to find their day's work. "One day, after the situation had been going on for months, I talked to the day laborers about their rights and responsibilities," Tsang relates. "I explained to them that organizing was the only chance to improve their situation. They then began a dialogue with one another and decided that a soccer game would be a good way to bring people together.
"Although I did not understand Spanish, I did understand their pain," Tsang reflects. "My father was once a day laborer .. [and] I have seen the sacrifices my parents have made so my life will be better."
Beyond her work as a member of the Mayor's Youth Forum, Tsang has conducted policy workshops at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York and for the Toronto Mayor's office. She also has conducted training exchanges with community development projects in the South Bronx and Harlem.
These experiences, a mentor writes in a recommendation letter, expanded Tsang's "understanding of complex political and economic problems--as well as the inequities faced by members of her own community and lower-income youth--and have helped her blossom into a young reformer and steward."
Making Ends Meet -- And More
Another outstanding award recipient is Wilbert Pete II, a member of International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) Houston Police Patrolmen's Union Local 109. With a wife who has been disabled by multiple sclerosis, a new house and four children to support, Pete originally took a few courses at a local community college to help study for a police exam so that he could "get promoted and not have to work as many side jobs to make ends meet." Since then, however, he has become hooked on learning and has decided to pursue a degree in criminal justice as well.
Pete's goals, while somewhat different from those of more traditional students, are still what the American dream--and the labor movement--are all about. "We have been in our house for two years now," he writes in his essay, "and as I watch my kids grow up I have a great desire to be at home more to help raise them. But if I continue to work side jobs, as I do, I will not be able to. This is why I went back to school."
Scholarship applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, character, leadership, financial need and appreciation of labor. Program judges include representatives from the United Negro College Fund, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges.
The scholarship program is funded by Union Privilege and Household Credit Services. The Union Plus Credit Card Program offers union members and their families a low-rate, no-annual-fee credit card that comes with or without a "grace-period."
The grace-period card is ideal for members who pay off their credit card balance every month, while the "no-grace" card, which carries a slightly lower interest rate, is best for members who tend to retain a balance from month to month.
Other Union Plus Credit Card features include a unique strike skip-payment plan and money-saving balance-transfer opportunities, which allow credit-qualified members to move debt from higher-rate credit cards to the lower-rate Union Plus Credit Card.
The 106 scholarship recipients have been sent letters of congratulations. However, because of the volume of scholarship applications received, applicants who were not selected for awards will not be notified. (UPBP has advised there were no scholarships awarded to BMWE-related students this year.)
Applications for 1998
Applications for the 1998 Union Plus Credit Card Scholarship Program are available this month (September). Persons interested in receiving 1998 scholarship applications should send their requests on a postcard, with their name, phone number and return address clearly printed on it, to Union Plus Credit Card Scholarship, P. O. Box 9389, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9389. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 1998. Scholarship recipients will be announced May 31, 1998.
Currently in its sixth year, the Union Plus Credit Card Scholarship Program has awarded more than $790,000 in scholarships. All members of unions that participate in the Union Plus Credit Card Program are eligible to apply for the award, regardless of whether they carry a Union Plus Credit Card. The BMWE has no involvement in marketing or administering the program and is also not involved in credit decisions.