Alden’s family has established a memorial scholarship fund in her honor and awarded the first scholarships in 2014
This scholarship program is intended to memorialize the values that Alden stood for during her life and the unique and inspiring way she lived. We hope that focusing on these values will not only pay tribute to Alden but encourage the scholarship winners to follow in her footsteps.
For the initial years of the scholarship program, the goal has been to enable disadvantaged but aspiring high school students to gain the sort of experiences that helped shape Alden’s character and mission in life, and that they probably would not otherwise be able to obtain: traveling abroad in the summer to participate in a service or cultural studies program.
Rarely can such teens, unlike their more privileged classmates, find the resources to pursue such an experience. Alden’s travels in Europe and northern Africa, and her volunteer work in Bosnia and with the Peace Corps in Mozambique, had a tremendous impact on her appreciation of different cultures and her commitment to helping make the world a better place. Hopefully, extending such opportunities to others will help expand their perspectives and empathy, and ultimately their commitment to giving back.
The students who have been awarded scholarships in Alden’s name are remarkable. They have each managed to devote hundreds of hours during their high school years to a wide range of volunteer activities, despite their own serious financial hardships. They have an exceptional work ethic, are keen to learn about other cultures, and are driven to make a positive impact on the world. Their stories are inspiring and a tonic for our times.
Here are some highlights:
Leyi is a hearing-impaired young woman from a family of recent Chinese immigrants. She is the first in her family to be heading to college. Already inspiring other women, she became a peer leader at YWCA’s GirlsFirst program, served on its Youth Advisory Group, helped OneWorldNow plan leadership workshops that deal with global issues, and organized a Young Women’s Conference in Seattle.
Loleena, a first-generation immigrant from China, had mastered three Chinese languages and English by the age of thirteen. Since then, she has learned Spanish and Japanese and later studied Russian and Korean. On her resume she quoted Steve Jobs: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Phuong is a Vietnamese immigrant, who also speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Her goal is to become a doctor. She competed as a junior in the Water Project, which awards a grand prize to the team with the best concept for helping Kenyans gain access to clean and safe drinking water. Phuong’s team made it to the finals, and inspired by this experience, Phuong designed a successful fundraising website to spread awareness about the water crisis in Kenya.
Alex, whose Chinese grandparents fled to Vietnam during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, was able to study in China through Alden’s scholarship program. As he noted, this allowed him to “learn about the perspectives others use to see the world.” He shares Alden’s great love of science: his honors chemistry teacher wrote that Alex would be able to uphold Alden’s “rigor and enthusiasm for people and learning.”
Xue Xin, who with her family immigrated from China 10 years ago, is described by her mathematics teacher in terms that remind us of Alden — a “gifted student, athlete, and community member” who loves life and wants to see the world and experience all it has to offer. “She is exactly the kind of person that we need more of in this world if we want a world of understanding, compassion, and bridges built where others were burned before us.”
In the summer of 2017, we were able to fund eight scholarship winners who collectively traveled to Korea, China, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Many of these high schoolers were sponsored by OneWorldNow, a Seattle-based organization providing leadership, language, and cross-cultural training to highly motivated students, most of them immigrants or first-generation Americans with extremely limited resources.
To enable Alden’s scholarship program to continue and expand, please make a tax-deductible contribution to the Seattle Foundation, which administers the scholarship. You can write a check to the Seattle Foundation, noting “Alden Landis Memorial Scholarship Fund” on the memo line, and send it to LB# 1069, Seattle Foundation, PO Box 35146, Seattle, WA 98124-5146. Or you can donate online at Alden Landis Memorial Scholarship (seattlefoundation.org.) The Foundation has the authority to make distributions from Alden’s Memorial Scholarship Fund as needed to honor the family’s intent.
We profoundly appreciate your generosity. And we are grateful to the dedicated staff at OneWorldNow, who prepare their student members for their journeys abroad, through leadership, language, and cultural training, and guide their trips. To learn more about OneWorldNow, go to https://oneworldnow.org. Last but not least, our friends at the Seattle Foundation deserve our deepest thanks for linking arms and hearts with us in administering Alden’s scholarship program and making a difference in the lives of these deserving young students. More information about the Seattle Foundation can be found at www.seattlefoundation.org.
With heartfelt gratitude,
The Landis Family