3 AM Thinking – Part Two

Faith SandlerAdvising, Community, COVID-19, Giving, Impact, Words of Faith

This is a reminder that dawn comes even when we have no reason to believe that it will.

This morning, I was awake at 3:00 A.M. The house was dark and the windows open and the world silent.  My mind, however, was far from quiet. Perhaps I had slept enough, or maybe somewhere there were others awake and suffering who needed me to be awake as well: students, staff, family, friends. At that hour, the list of loved ones and worries expands.

At about 4:15, I got up to make fresh coffee and start the day. Quickly, the laptop screen brought news: emergency major surgeries, rapid rises in COVID cases on college campuses nationwide, dissension and fatigue in communities struggling to stay together.

I turned to worrying about how long it’s been since the last Words of Faith post, about how I could possibly reassure all of you in a world that seems so bleak. In the process, I realized it had been exactly five months to the day since I wrote a post entitled 3 AM Thinking. When I re-read that post, I remembered who I am, who you are, and how we got here.

Since then, every program and activity of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis has adapted to an online community format. Almost 500 students have been awarded loans and grants, have completed self-assessment processes to prepare them for the uncertain semester upon us, and most have met individually with an advisor to fashion personal contingency plans for inevitable shifts in academic life required by coronavirus. More than any other group of students, Scholarship Foundation students are prepared for challenges, connected to resources, and certainly not strangers to adversity.

Look with me to where the light is breaking:

…an 80-year old who escaped eastern Europe under totalitarian rule provides a scholarship to support a 20-year old north St. Louis pharmacy student whose family fled Vietnam.

…while cash flow is constrained because loan repayments are deferred for hundreds of Scholarship Foundation graduates facing economic hardship, the family of one of our longest-serving board members directs a significant and unexpected gift to bolster the interest-free loan program their mother helped build.

…graduates of decades ago read of the current crises in higher education and send unsolicited first-time gifts to The Scholarship Foundation, knowing first-hand the power of education to create change.

…a student serving on their campus COVID-planning taskforce steps in to help another Scholarship Foundation student petition for access to required courses remotely.

There’s so much more than can be recounted here. But it’s now 6:25 a.m. and just six minutes to sunrise.  Join me in looking that direction.

-Faith Sandler