New Lenox — Twenty-four young women each received $1,000 scholarships Tuesday thanks to an organization whose main reason for being is to award scholarships.
The Lincoln-Way Area Business Women’s Organization, which was founded in 1970, raises money for the scholarships through its annual holiday raffle, spokeswoman Jennifer M. McManus said.
About 80 young women typically apply, and the organization interviews about 30 applicants, McManus said.
Women must live in New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena or Manhattan and plan to attend a college, university, trade school or junior college, according to the organization’s website.
The scholarships are awarded at an annual dinner, which was held this year at Gatto’s in New Lenox. McManus said 90 people attended, which was “record-breaking.”
The 2022 LWABWO scholarship recipients are Melanie Hill, Sophia Bruozas, Camry Baker, Kellie Kempaik, Amanda Cosco, Marta Mscisz, Jordan Smith, Tara Schoppe, Emma So, Karli Schuster, Madison Medina, Abigale Karpluk, Amanda Barta, Kailey White, Julie Arias, Michele Ryan, Katherine Malcom, Meaghan Fitzpatrick, Antonia Kubas, McKenzie Murdock, Taylor Schilinger, Christa Kolavo, Marla Hayes and Kelsey McGiven.
“The celebration dinner is a culmination of all the work throughout the year,” McManus said in an email. “We were so happy to celebrate these young women, especially since it’s been a challenging couple of years.”
COVID-19 didn’t stop the organization from raising money and awarding scholarships, McManus said. The 2020 recipients were interviewed by Zoom and still received scholarships, even though a dinner couldn’t be held, McManus said.
Funds for the 2021 scholarships were raised through a raffle and the sale of popcorn, she said. McManus said the recipients were very appreciative, even though some also receive other scholarships.
“Every little bit helps,” she said.
It might be a misconception that one must be a business owner to participate. That isn’t the organization’s focus.
“It’s about giving back to the community,” McManus said, “and meeting really nice women and doing charitable things together.”
For information, visit lwabwo.org.