A former scholarship recipient, Kashay Webb, has achieved a significant milestone by becoming a member of Central Scholarship's Board of Directors. Having received financial assistance for her education from 2015 to 2021, Kashay has now assumed a leadership position within the same organization. The election to the board is a significant step forward in Kashay's career and a testament to her determination to pay it forward by giving back to her community. It serves as an inspiration to others who may want to pay it forward.
Personal story: My experience as a scholarship recipient
"Central Scholarship was like a lifeline for me. A few thousand dollars or a couple of thousand dollars, it may not seem like a lot to some people, but when you come from a background without the resources to be able to navigate that, it could be the end. It could be the difference between a graduate and a non-graduate," said Kashay.
In 2015, Kashay heard about Central Scholarship from her high school college counselor. She received her first award in 2015, which helped with her undergraduate costs at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, where she graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Philosophy and a minor in Biology.
When she was accepted to graduate school, she decided to reapply for a Central Scholarship award to offset the cost of her degree. She received another award and is incredibly grateful for the support she received from Central Scholarship. She was ecstatic to graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a Master's in Health Administration in 2021.
The transition to becoming a board member
"Many years ago, in my first Central Scholarship interview, I vowed that investing in me as a scholarship recipient would pay dividends beyond helping a first-generation student graduate from college. I assured Central Scholarship that sowing a seed in me would allow me to pay it forward through my public health career and commitment to serving students like me in the future.
Seven years later, it is with great honor and gratitude that I serve as a Central Scholarship board member. In this full-circle moment, I know first-hand how the work we do has a ripple effect on countless lives. I look forward to continuing to fulfill the promise I made that day and my journey with Central Scholarship, knowing that this is only the beginning.
As a Baltimore City native, I was in a community with many health disparities and inequities. I wanted to make sure that I was in a position to engage in efforts to improve the health status of those in a vulnerable, marginalized, or underserved population. And now, I can also make a difference for people across Maryland who want to further their education like I did.”
The impact of giving back on the scholarship program and community
Kashay's interest in pursuing a career in public health came from her background in philosophy. Aristotle introduced the notion of eudaimonia or human flourishing. He argued that human actions are all based on our desire to flourish, which is the highest "good" attainable in life. Kashay pondered the various circumstances people could find themselves in, which would prevent them from attaining eudaimonia. The health inequities she witnessed growing up were undoubtedly a roadblock.
Her philosophy is that every individual has a right to flourish over their lifetime—a feat that cannot be accomplished without attaining and maintaining a certain health threshold. Kashay has made it her mission to increase healthcare access and equitable delivery of healthcare services to encourage all human beings to flourish.
The importance of paying it forward and encouraging others to do the same.
Paying it forward is repaying the kindness or generosity one has received by helping others. It is essential because it not only helps to improve the lives of others but it also has a positive impact on the giver. It can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment and can be instrumental in building stronger communities. Paying it forward has been known to create a ripple effect, as the recipients of the act of kindness are more likely to pay it forward themselves.
Encouraging others to pay it forward can be done by creating opportunities for people to give back. Individuals can use their time, skills, and resources to impact their community positively; it's not just about donating money.
20 ways to pay it forward
If Kashay's story inspires you and you want to pay it forward by giving back to your community, here are 20 ways to pay it forward:
Volunteer at a local non-profit organization or charity.
Donate to a charitable organization or cause that you care about.
Participate in community service projects or clean-up events.
Offer to mentor or tutor someone who could benefit from your knowledge and skills.
Organize a fundraiser for a charity or non-profit organization.
Support local businesses and entrepreneurs by shopping locally.
Donate blood or plasma to help those in need.
Organize a neighborhood watch group to help keep your community safe.
Offer to cook or deliver meals for elderly or disabled members of your community.
Host a donation drive for essential items like clothes, food, or toiletries for those in need.
Organize a book or school supply drive for students in need.
Offer to pet-sit or walk dogs for elderly or disabled neighbors.
Participate in a community garden project to promote healthy eating and sustainable living.
Host a workshop or webinar to share your knowledge or skills with others.
Organize a litter clean-up in your neighborhood or local park.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
Write letters or send care packages to deployed military personnel or first responders.
Offer to help at a local community center or youth program.
Donate blankets or warm clothing to a homeless shelter or women's shelter.
Host a fundraiser for a local school or library to support education in your community.