Gulf Coast Village Foundation – a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing financial aid, educational opportunities and innovative services for all who live and work at Gulf Coast Village – recently presented a total of $12,000 in scholarship awards to 10 Gulf Coast Village employees during an awards ceremony on May 7. This year’s gifts ranged from $1,000 to $1,500 and mark a total of 94 scholarships bestowed since the program’s inception. Donations made by Gulf Coast Village residents, staff and supporters fund the foundation, which first awarded $500 scholarships to five employees in 2003. Now 15 years later, both the number of scholarship recipients and the dollar value of gifts awarded, continues to rise.
“It’s a joy to assist our valued employees in their educational pursuits,” said Cheryl Leftwich, director of the Gulf Coast Village Foundation and associate pastor at Gulf Coast Village. “Each of this year’s recipients inspire us with their commitment to providing excellent service to Gulf Coast Village residents, all while bettering themselves. I have no doubt their wonderful contributions will continue throughout their journeys ahead.”
Shaun Taylor, Gulf Coast Village employee of nearly two years, is one of the 10 Gulf Coast Village Foundation scholarship recipients for 2017. Taylor spent his formative years in the small English town of Burton upon Trent, before immigrating to the United States with his parents when he was 11 years old. His father, who has since passed, brought his family to the U.S. to find a better life and greater opportunity, a dream that has inspired Taylor to make the most out of the opportunities he has been given. Now a student at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), while working full time at Gulf Coast Village, Taylor is committed to completing his bachelor’s degree in Health Science, before attending graduate school to become a physical therapist.
In an essay for this year’s scholarship consideration, Taylor acknowledged the valuable experience he had already gained while working at Gulf Coast Village, which would stand him in good stead for future leadership or supervisor roles. “Career competencies already found during my time at Gulf Coast Village have helped me gain experience in providing personalized services, assuming positions of responsibility and leadership, and amassing time management and delegation skills,” Taylor wrote. “I believe Gulf Coast Village is the perfect setting to establish my career goals.”
A full list of 2017 Gulf Coast Village Foundation scholarship recipients includes:
1. Kelsi Bevington
2. Yeileen Cruz
3. Jacqueline Davis
4. Diana Driggs
5. Shhani Gallimore
6. Gisela Guerrero
7. Tessagay Haughton
8. Yoana Rivas
9. Brittany Slack
10. Shaun Taylor