The Jessica N. Santos Foundation Awards Scholarship to Sleepy Hollow Student

I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of giving back to the community for the good of others. When you unselfishly open up your heart to give, knowing it will in some small way contribute to another human being’s life, the satisfaction and gratification you receive is immeasurable.

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Emily Santana and Gisela Marin

I have found fulfillment in doing my part while honoring my daughter Jessica’s memory at the same time.

The Jessica N. Santos Foundation (a 501c3 nonprofit & tax exempt organization) was founded in memory of my daughter, Jessica Santos, who was the innocent victim of a random shooting in Yonkers on August 27, 2006. The Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of young people through educational scholarships. Our mission is to encourage students to strive for continued learning and higher education.

On June 9th, I was invited to attend the Sleepy Hollow High School Academic Awards Program at the Westchester Marriott to present the very first Jessica N. Santos Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation awards a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student based on need and good academic standing. I have to admit I felt overwhelmed and filled with emotion as I watched students being called to receive several awards, scholarships and recognition for their talents and academic successes. It reminded me of the many events I had attended with Jessica; she was a graduate of the class of 2005.

When it was my turn to present I was so choked up that I could not eloquently express the honor I felt, presenting Miss Emily Santana with the scholarship named in Jessica’s memory. Although she was not present to receive it I knew the guidance department had made an excellent choice in choosing Emily. She submitted an essay describing her plans and goals for pursuing higher education at Lehigh University this fall. Emily is truly a remarkable young lady and very deserving of the award; I know she will persevere and excel in whatever career or profession she pursues.

The Foundation’s vision is to continue to grow in order to increase the number of scholarships given out each year. This is made possible through our annual fundraiser, The Jessica N. Santos Memorial Walk and Family Fun Day, and by generous contributions from the community and corporations. It is our goal to help students reach their full potential and become productive, valued members of the community. Monies raised at the event go towards the scholarships.

I personally invite you to take part in this year’s event which will take place on Saturday, July 19, 2008 from 10am-5pm. The Memorial Walk will start at Patriot’s Park at 11:00am and end at Pierson Park where we will have a Family Fun Day with food, music, entertainment, carnival type activities from 12pm-5pm.

For more information on how to pre-register or send a donation, please visit our website: www.rememberingjessica.com

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About the Author: Gisela Marin