The Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds® Scholarship and Leadership Development Program honors outstanding young people who are overcoming tremendous adversity, demonstrate academic excellence and give back to their communities. Each year, through a competitive review process, we select five deserving high school seniors from the greater Houston area for a Beat the Odds award. We provide each student with the financial, academic and personal support necessary to matriculate and succeed in college and beyond -- including up to $5,000 in scholarship money, a laptop computer, domestic airfare to/from college and the CDF Haley Farm, ongoing mentoring, internship referrals, leadership development, coursework and career guidance, professional clothing and off-to-college dorm bundles.
The powerful stories of resilience, courage, determination and hope shared at the annual Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon inform CDF's efforts to change the odds for children, and serve as a stirring reminder and call to action for change-makers, policymakers, and everyone of us to renew our commitment to children.
Since 1999, the CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Awards has provided well over half a million dollars in college scholarships, and raises vital funds to support CDF's work in Texas.
From left to right: Norberto Pineda, Alief Early College High School; Amber Ayala, East Early College High School; Bianca Rodriguez, Dayton High School;Asanthi Deras, KIPP Sunnyside High School; Indhira Mata, KIPP Generations Collegiate High School.
View their inspirational stories in the "Meet Our Past Honorees" section below.
Help change the odds for extraordinary young people.
For consideration in the CDF-Texas Beat the Odds scholarship, an applicant must:
Be a current high school senior in a Houston area (also includes: Dayton/Liberty county) public, charter, or alternative school;
Have overcome significant adversity such as, but not limited to, poverty, disability, homelessness or abuse;
Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, employment, and/or service leadership;
Have a current G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher;
Graduate by July 2018; and
Plan to attend college, university, or vocational school post graduation.
Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by CDF-Texas staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic achievement, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.
Winners will be interviewed and videotaped subjects of mini-documentaries to raise awareness about the challenges young people face. These mini-documentaries will be aired at the Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon in the Spring and posted online as part of CDF's YouTube library. Applicants must feel comfortable with sharing their stories publicly.
Applicants for the Beat the Odds scholarship will be evaluated based upon:
An application form, which should tell the applicant's story, and include sufficient details to describe significant hardships/challenges faced, volunteer and service leadership experiences, and academics
An educator recommendation from a teacher who knows the applicant well
A community member recommendation from a mentor, employer, or counselor who knows the applicant well
A high school transcript
Notifications will be made January - March. Recipients will be honored at the spring CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon.