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Moose Lodge offers scholarship opportunity to local high school students

Published 2:34pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Dowagiac Moose Lodge 933 is offering an opportunity for high school students in Dowagiac and surrounding areas to compete for $30,000 in scholarship money.

The Moose Lodge is seeking student participants for their Youth Awareness Program, in which high school students create, coordinate and perform presentations promoting healthy living for younger students.

“(The program) gives (participants) a great opportunity to hone their public speaking skills to pass on healthy lifestyle decisions and also to prepare them for their futures,” said Bob Staley, administrator of the Dowagiac Moose Lodge 933.

Participating students create presentations or “Moose KidsTalks” on a subject of their choice, and attend any group setting with 4 to 9 year-olds (cub scout meetings, classrooms, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, etc.).

“The speakers are allowed to go anywhere they want,” said Staley. “The goal here is to talk to as many 4 to 9 year old-kids as they can about their topic.”

Staley said students are free to talk about any topic of their choosing that promotes positive lifestyles. Students typically find a problem they would like to “fix” during the State Youth Awareness Congress meeting that they are required to attend before giving presentations.

“The Youth Awareness program is not for kids who have issues with drug and alcohol abuse. This is a program for high school students who can combine academic skills and leadership qualities to target 4 to 9 year-olds with positive messages through KidsTalks. Previous presentations have been given on a variety of topics, such as drug and alcohol abuse, manners, smoking, fire safety and peer pressure,” Staley said.

Once the students choose their topics and generate their presentations, they must give their presentation at least three times prior to February 2014 in order to qualify for scholarships.

According to a press release, “students are encouraged to be creative with their presentations, with presenters often using coloring books, videos, social media, costumes, songs and skits to ensure their messages resonate with young children.”

At the end of February, students submit written reports about their three Moose KidsTalks that are judged by a peer group to determine who will represent Michigan at the annual International Youth Awareness Congress, held during the first weekend of May. This year, the International Youth Congress will be held in Gettysburg, Penn.

According to Staley, student participants are entered for $500 scholarships at the statewide competition. The top five winners of the international competition receive larger scholarships: $12,000 for first place, $8,000 for second, $5,000 for third, $3,000 for fourth, and $2,000 for fifth.

Staley said students from any area surrounding Dowagiac are welcome to participate in the program and take their presentations into their own communities.

Students interested in the Moose Youth Awareness Program should email the Dowagiac Moose Lodge 933 at lodge933@mooseunits.org, or the state coordinator Jim Colby at lodge1253@mooseunits.org.

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