Thirty-One Gifts announces it has selected Kersten Hicks for its fifth annual Cindy Monroe Values and Vision Scholarship. Ms. Hicks, 17, is a senior at Notre Dame High School.
Thirty-One Gifts established the scholarship in 2013 with a $31,000 endowment to give back to the community where Cindy Monroe founded the company in 2003. The annual college scholarship is a $12,400 award, available to one girl each year in grades 11 or 12 who attends school in Hamilton County, either in private or public schools. Ms. Hicks will receive $3,100 a year over the course of four years.
The scholarship recognizes a girl who embodies core values of building relationships, leadership and community involvement.
She also must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and plan to attend an accredited two- or four-year U.S. college or university full-time.
Ms. Hicks plans to study nursing at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has earned a 3.71 GPA, despite having a reading-related learning disability and medical condition. She was class president while in middle school, and has logged more than 530 community service hours in high school.
Ms. Hicks was selected as a God Camp leader, Catholic Youth Camp leader and Winter Catholic Youth Camp leader. She also has served on the Diocesan Youth Ministry Advisory Council for the Diocese of Knoxville for three years, an exception to a two-year term limit.
She has volunteered at a craniofacial camp for children with facial deformities, and at CHI Memorial Hospital and Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where she has devoted more than 110 hours of service.
“I have served the greater Chattanooga community in a variety of volunteer efforts during my high school tenure,” said Ms. Hicks. “By leading church-related activities, I have gained confidence in myself and have impacted many children and teens by helping them rediscover their faith and apply it to real-world situations. I also have learned what it feels like to be a hospital patient and would like to be on the other side of the hospital bed. I’m inspired to become the nurse who shows compassion, understanding and kindness to the patient – like me – when they really need it.”
She also has gained insight into the issues of self-esteem in girls, and would like to impact her community by showing that one person’s actions can make a difference.
“We must always be true to ourselves and compassionate to others,” says Ms. Hicks. “While the advancement of technology has positively impacted many people’s lives, it also has made young girls feel pressured into being something they aren’t. I would like every girl to realize beauty doesn’t come from the outside, but rather from our own individuality and uniqueness. Every person is empowered to make positive changes in their community through their actions and efforts.”
Thirty-One Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe is a native of Chattanooga and graduate of Hixson High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She founded Thirty-One in Chattanooga with a mission to celebrate, encourage and reward women, providing an opportunity for them to achieve financial freedom, find personal fulfillment and realize dreams through becoming successful business owners. The scholarship is part of that mission, providing opportunities for girls to reach their full potential.
The scholarship is offered through Thirty-One Gifts’ philanthropic initiative, Thirty-One Gives, which has a mission to support nonprofit organizations that strengthen families and empower women and girls. Thirty-One Gives was founded in 2012 and to-date has donated $100 million in products and cash to charitable organizations that share their mission.
In 2008, Thirty-One moved to Columbus, Oh., where they are headquartered today. They currently have more than 1,000 employees, and there are more than 63,000 independent sales consultants who sell their products at home parties and online. The company was named for Proverbs 31, a chapter of the Bible that celebrates women’s strengths. Their product line includes totes, purses and wallets, thermal bags, jewelry, home décor and more.
Ms. Hicks is the daughter of Richard and Trina Hicks of Chattanooga.