For the first time, the LGBTQ Resource Center at the Gulfport Public Library is offering a $1,000 scholarship to one qualifying local student.
“The student must have a Gulfport address, or have a parent who lives in Gulfport,” said Susan Gore, the LGBTQ Resource Center secretary. “This is somebody with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and somebody who is involved in school and has leadership qualities.”
And the candidate, whether they be in high school, college student or are enrolled in a trade school, must identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
The scholarship opportunity has been open since December and will end on June 30.
A committee of three will be judging the applications, and the winner will have the money wired directly to the institution of their choice.
So far, there have been no applicants.
“LGBTQ kids face a higher level of oppression than other students,” said Greg Stemm, a committee member with the resource center. “We have a strong commitment to our young people, and we want to support them any way we can.”
According to Stemm, the student will need to be completely “out” and openly involved with the gay community to qualify.
“When I was that age I was not out, but then again, I lived in the corn fields of Ohio,” Stemm said. “Thankfully this community is very welcoming.”
While the scholarship opportunity is open to anyone enrolled in an educational program, Boca Ciega High School is the main target.
“It’s the only high school in this area so we are going talk to guidance counselors and get in contact with the gay-straight alliance there,” Stemm said.
The resource center’s budget grown since its opening in 2015.
When Gore became involved with the center three years ago, she said, the annual budget was just $875.
In just a few years, that number has blossomed into over $5,000 yearly, and is mainly raised through fundraisers and events.
“Considering how we’ve grown, this is a great opportunity to give to a LGBTQ student who needs help,” Gore said.
If you are interested in obtaining an application email the resource center at mygulfport.us/lgbtq-resources or visit the LGBTQ Resource Center in the Gulfport Library at 5501 28th St. S.