Unity in the Community surprises 20 local college students with scholarships

A Philadelphia-based group surprised 20 students at home and work with a scholarship and some hope for a better future.

Unity in the Community surprised TahDiyah Jackson and her mother Ameena with a $1,000 scholarship. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Unity in the Community surprised TahDiyah Jackson and her mother Ameena with a $1,000 scholarship. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Philadelphia-based group is giving out laptops and scholarships to students.

The group Unity in the Community has formed an alliance with other groups and surprised 20 local college students as part of a back-to-school scholarship giveaway.

Tah Diyah Jackson was the first of those surprised at the Scoop Deville ice cream store with a check for $1,000 and the promise she will have a laptop when she returns to school at Lincoln University in the fall. She says the money is a big relief.

“It’s going to help. I don’t have to worry about my mom struggling to pay for stuff for me, it’s going to help a lot.”

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Jackson says the money will be used for books and other essentials as part of her quest to become an attorney.

Anton Moore of the group Unity in the Community, who put together the alliance for the scholarships, says he’s been giving out the scholarships for 10 years

“The qualifications are that you are going to college, and need some extra help and you need a helping hand. We know that college is expensive. It’s a lot of kids who want to do better but they need a helping hand.”

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Moore says the money is well spent and that funding education helps reduce violence.

“We started with one and just worked our way up, and every year we are just getting better and better. That’s a $20,000 investment in the community, investing in the education of our young people.”

Tah Diyah’s mother Ameena Jackson says the money is a big relief, “I really, really, truly appreciate it. Thank you all so much. Proud is an understatement. I’m proud of my baby. She didn’t miss a day of school from kindergarten to 12th grade. Straight As all the way through and she deserves everything that is coming to her.”

The groups say the purpose of the effort is to stem the gun violence epidemic by promoting education. Moore says the majority of the students who were nominated for the scholarship come from low-income communities. He believes the investment will pay dividends in the future by improving society.

Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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