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March 2, 2011

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March 2, 2011

It’s been about five years since I accidentally stumbled upon the Aqua Foundation’s scholarship ad. I remember casually flipping the pages and suddenly stopping myself to read about the scholarship for LBT women and girls going to college from the South Florida area. I looked at the application due date; it had passed. Yet, I felt inclined to call the office the following day and ask if there was anyway I could still apply, considering I was a lesbian-identified senior in high school, looking for any money I could add to my ever-too-small college fund. Needless to say, I applied to the scholarship, and three years later, the Aqua Foundation has funded nearly $16,000 of my college education at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

Although the money has definitely been an incredible gift these past three years, the Aqua Foundation has given me much more than any check ever could: an outlet to find myself within the lesbian community, and a place to feel open and honest about who I am as a woman. I was 18 when I first applied, and now that I am 22, I can tell that my experiences growing up with the support of the Aqua Foundation have undeniably shaped who I am. I have become more confident and aware of myself as an LBT woman, and through the countless conversations, interactions, and experiences among the women of the foundation, I have really gained a sense of belonging in the South Florida lesbian community.

Quite frankly, the scholarship granted me the opportunity to meet and learn from the most incredible group of women and mentors in the LBT community, which has been an invaluable experience. And even though I spend much of my year in Chicago at school, I feel the most at home when I am in South Florida, and do everything I can to be a part of our community again; I spent two summers interning at the Aqua Foundation office, I attend events and parties, and t maintain the friendships I have made with women in the foundation. Without a doubt, I love the feeling of being around the thriving and supportive Aqua Foundation community in South Florida.

Five years after first applying for the Aqua Foundation Scholarship, I truly understand the importance of having a program where LBT women reach out to LBT youth. Not only have I benefitted from the program’s monetary support, but I have also gained an invaluable network of women mentors and friends. I know that I am lucky to have the Aqua Foundation to support me, and (as is already happening) I intend to share my own experiences with younger LBT youth, as they come to me looking for somebody to talk to about feeling comfortable with their own sexuality, support, and place within the community.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Aqua Foundation granted me over $16,000 in scholarship money, allowing me to attend college out-of-state. Also, their mentorship program has connected me with supportive and caring mentors who follow my growth in school, and ensure that I have a network of people available to me when I need advice or support.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Create event more outlets and support programs for LBT youth in the Miami community.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Through an ad in a local lesbian publication.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Aqua Foundation has helped me accept my sexuality, and encouraged me to be a leader within the LBT community.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

March 1, 2011

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March 1, 2011

This organization provides me with a scholarship and a mentor in the field I hope to enter--they didn't just give me a scholarship check and said "here is your money and let's take a picture for our press release". The Aqua Foundation has served as a family to me and has allowed me to spend more time focusing on my studies and a little less time working at my 40+ hour week job and for that, I am forever grateful!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my personal and professional life.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand and become a National Organization

October 23, 2010

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October 23, 2010

The Aqua Foundation for Women is true to their message of empowering, educating and fostering South Florida's lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women communities. With their support my organization, The Women's Theatre Project, has developed a strategic alliance with The Pride Center at Equality Park. Together, we are bringing a nationally recognized anti-bullying campaign to South Florida. The Women's Theatre Project is grateful to the Foundation and their donors for allowing us to leverage our relationships and funding to support this much-needed and unique programming.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

With the support of Aqua Foundation, The Women's Theatre Project will present Ugly Ducklings, a national campaign designed to reduce bullying and harassment of LGBTQ youth in June 2011. This program was developed by Carolyn Gage and Hardy Girls Healthy Women of Maine and provides a full weekend of workshops, a documentary film presentation, and educational materials. Discussion, interaction and Q&A sessions are led by award-winning lesbian feminist playwright, director, and activist – Carolyn Gage.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to provide more staff to carry out their mission.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Recommended by our partner organization, The Pride Center at Equality Park.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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