ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Shane LaBarge had just entered his first year of college when he received the shocking news that his father died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition. At that moment, the life that Shane knew vanished. Not only was his family going through emotional hardship, but without his father's income and no life insurance in place to provide financial support, they were faced with piling bills and expenses. Shane's mother, who suffers from a disability and is unable to work, struggles to support Shane and his younger brother. Shane works two jobs in order to stay enrolled in school, and is determined to get his college degree to help secure a future for his family.
Through its LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program, the nonprofit LIFE Foundation is dedicated to helping students like Shane pay for their college education. LIFE today announced the winners of its ninth annual program, which offers financial support to college students and college-bound high school seniors who have persevered despite the loss of a parent or legal guardian. Shane is the recipient of a $15,000 LIFE Lessons Scholarship. His story, in his own words, can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/4GhGMtMNT2Q.
The LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program asks applicants to submit an application along with either a 500-word essay or 3-minute video describing how their lives have been challenged, both financially and emotionally, by the death of a parent or guardian who did not have adequate life insurance. This year, LIFE has awarded a record total of $125,000 in scholarships to 24 students ranging from $2,000 – $15,000.
"The stories of the young people involved in our LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program should be a reminder to us all of how important it is to plan ahead and to make sure the ones we love are protected financially should the unexpected happen," said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, President and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. "No parent would want to see their child have to give up their college dreams because they are not around to give the financial support they would have wanted to provide. That's where life insurance can play a role – to make sure those that depend on you financially have a safety net to fall back on to help maintain their quality of life and continue with their life plans."
As part of the scholarship, LIFE also held an online, public vote during the month of July to select the grand prize recipient in the video category. Shane is joined by fellow grand prize winner Breann Loveless, who was selected for her video essay. Breann is a 17-year-old high school graduate who lost both of her parents 3 days apart without substantial life insurance coverage. With the alleviated cost of college tuition, life will be more affordable as Breann and her siblings take on extra jobs to make ends meet.
The remaining scholarship recipients, including Shane, were chosen by a panel of judges consisting of LIFE Board and staff members, and executives from leading insurance companies. Stories of this year's scholarship recipients can be viewed on the LIFE website at www.lifehappens.org/scholarship-recipients.
The 2013 LIFE Lessons Scholarship Recipients:
$15,000 Scholarship Recipients: Shane LaBarge (McKees Rocks, PA, California University of Pennsylvania); Breann Loveless (Provo, UT, Snow College)
$7,500 Scholarship Recipients: Melina Ahmadpour (Bellflower, Calif., Cerritos College); Thea Jaucian (Long Beach, Calif. Santa Monica College); Emily Manley (Palatine, Ill., Eastern Illinois University); Joshua Thomas (Leawood, Kan., Dartmouth College); Zach Willard (Johns Creek, Ga., Auburn University); Takashi Yanagi (Notre Dame, Ind., University of Notre Dame)
$5,000 Scholarship Recipients: Kennady Boone (El Paso, Texas, University of North Texas); Kayla Cooper (Philadelphia, Pa., Villanova University); Jenna Cordaro (Lake Zurich, Ill., The University of Illinois at Chicago); Neariah Jarvis (Mystic, Conn., Southern New Hampshire University); Christine Kalyvas (St. Petersburg, Fla., University of Florida); Amanda Neff (Jacksonville, Fla., University of Phoenix)
$2,000 Scholarship Recipients: Shakira Barnes (North Chicago, Ill., Northern Illinois University); Kayla Horn (Louisville, Ky., Jefferson Community & Technical College); Kylie Lewsader (Joplin, Mo., University of Missouri-St. Louis); Joshua Lineberger (Perry, Ga., Valdosta State University); Darian McElroy (Youngstown, Ohio, Youngstown State University); Matt Pickett (Colorado Springs, Colo., Piles Peak Community College); Ray Ryan (Salinas, Ca., University of California, Riverside); Scott Sahinkaya (Colleyville, Texas, Weatherford College); Danielle Schantz (Huntington, N.Y., The State University of New York at Geneseo); Christian Wygant (Oscoda, Mich., Michigan State University).
For the fourth consecutive year, the LIFE Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships through the LIFE Lessons program. LIFE would like to recognize the generous financial support it receives from the NAILBA Charitable Foundation, the MDRT Foundation and NAHU Foundation, whose grants helped fund the scholarship money awarded for the LIFE Lessons program. LIFE also accepts contributions from individual donors. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit: http://www.lifehappens.org/donate.
More information about the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program, including submission guidelines, rules, and a listing of past winners, is available at www.lifehappens.org/lifelessons. Questions regarding the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) inspires the public to take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. LIFE is the voice of choice for the industry providing the highest quality independent and objective information about life insurance and related products. To learn more about LIFE, go to www.lifehappens.org.
SOURCE The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE)