Kira Kessler, Kovler Scholarship recipient

"JUF is an organization committed to creating opportunities for young members of the Jewish community by providing need-based financial aid. The term scholarship is thrown around often in the college application process, with parents encouraging children to apply in an attempt to lessen the incredible financial burden that is sending a child to college. It’s hard as a teen, overwhelmed with studies, extracurriculars, jobs, and social obligations, to truly understand the impact that a scholarship can make in their lives. I remember that overwhelming feeling like it was yesterday, but just a short 5 years later as I sit here in my dream job, in a new city, a new state, a new life, I can promise you that I would not be where I am today without this scholarship opening endless doors for me. It may seem like just another application, another task to add to the never ending list, but in reality, this scholarship is one of the biggest opportunities of your life. You may think you can’t afford to spend the extra few hours, but I can promise you that you can’t afford not to. Looking back, the decision to apply for this scholarship was the single most important choice I made, because with JUF on your side, the possibilities are truly endless.

I sat in the JVS offices at 16 with no idea where I was going or how I would get there (a pretty terrifying feeling let me tell you), but I knew I was determined to go to college and make something of myself. I promised to seize the moment, embrace every opportunity, leverage every resource I was given, and learn as much as I could about anything and everything. With no plan, just a promise, JUF believed in me and empowered me to become the woman I am today. They provided me with not just financial aid, but a support system and a safe place within the Jewish community. They encouraged me to chase my dreams and held me accountable to be the person I always told them I wanted to become. This gift helped me attain my degree, but it also gave me so much more: a network of friends I will have for the rest of my life, an opportunity to explore the world and discover myself through studying abroad, an education that left me prepared to excel in the work force, and professional connections that helped me score my dream job, just to name a few.

So thank you, for setting me up to succeed, for watching me grow up, and for giving me the life I always dreamed of. And to the lucky ones reading this… get ready. This is the beginning of the rest of your life. You can be anything, learn anything, do anything… so get up and do it! This is your shot and I know you’ll make us proud."

Learn more about the Everett Kovler Scholarship Program - applications due March 1, 2018