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The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is a local non-profit organization located in Montgomery County, Maryland. The mission of The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is to provide financial assistance for college or training programs to graduating high school seniors and adult learners who are low-income and live in subsidized housing in Montgomery County, Maryland.


Success story

I am a 31-year-old single mother of 2 children aged 11 and 2 years old. I am also the caregiver of my 81-year-old grandmother.

This May, I graduated from the University of Baltimore (UB) with a B.A. in Business. I also have a degree in Paralegal Studies from Montgomery College. While studying, I worked full-time as an Office Manager for the Federal Government. I plan on enrolling in law school Fall of 2021. My ultimate career goal is to become a lawyer. I want to fight and be the voice for others through the profession of law.

This May, I graduated from the University of Baltimore (UB) with a B.A. in Business. I also have a degree in Paralegal Studies from Montgomery College. While studying, I worked full-time as an Office Manager for the Federal Government. I plan on enrolling in law school Fall of 2021. My ultimate career goal is to become a lawyer. I want to fight and be the voice for others through the profession of law.

I have recently started a non-profit personal life coaching business, where I offer my services for little to no cost. My services include credit repair, budgeting, paralegal, resume, and legal services. I believe many people are not equipped with these necessary life skills. My vision is to help build a stronger and financially sound community. I am also looking to start my own athletic clothing wear line and exercise YouTube channel. Exercising has so many benefits and helped me in so many areas of my life. My passion in life is to inspire and make a difference.

I get asked frequently, “Helsie how do you do it?” from my friends, colleagues, and family.

Being a single parent, working full-time, attending school part-time, and raising a family on one income in Montgomery County is difficult. I do not have much of a support system, so it took me 10 years to finish. In those 10 years, I had purchased a home, had another child, switched my jobs, lost loved ones, experienced domestic violence, and had many surgeries. I cannot tell you how many times I cried and wanted to walk away from it all.

Those 10 years were the hardest, but most rewarding, years of my life. Not only did I receive a college education, but also I learned many life skills and lessons. I am stronger than I have ever been because of those 10 long hard years. I am more disciplined, dedicated, self-aware, confident, humble, determined, responsible, resourceful, hardworking, and accountable from all those early mornings and late nights.

I graduated UB with a 3.56 GPA. My first Bernie Scholarship was awarded in 2018. If it were not for the Bernie Scholarship, I would not have finished school this May. While I received assistance through a federal Pell grant and other scholarships, I could only take as many classes as my grants allowed, which usually amounted to about three courses per semester. Most of my income goes toward daycare ($403+/week) and for my living expenses. The scholarship helped me take more classes.

What motivates me is knowing that I can do better, and my internal will to succeed and not give up on my investment. I constantly remind myself who I am, all that I accomplished, and where I am going.  I want a better life for myself and my kids. When I start something, I have to finish it. I establish goals, and when I knock them down, I set some more. I am always looking for ways to grow and improve even through my own failures.  

I am going to tell you the same thing I tell them, “You can do it too!” If you’re dedicated and really want something, no one or anything will get in your way. I hope I inspired you. Keep your head up and do not give up. Thank you for listening.  

Diversity, equity and inclusion statement– We take a broad view of diversity, embracing diversity of age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic background, and educational background.  We value the qualities that make people who they are and recognize that every person brings a unique perspective.  We welcome diverse attributes, as they are critical to our mission of increasing financial stability by providing higher educational opportunities for underserved members of our community.  We strive to include diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the center of our work, as our goal is to create an environment where everyone from any background can thrive.