The Bridge Fund: Bridging the Gap for Chowan Students
Chowan University is committed to serving many students who might not have an opportunity to attain a college education elsewhere. Many of our students come from homes with limited financial support. Chowan seeks to meet the needs of these students through financial aid, yet sometimes the needs are greater than what the University can provide. A small and determined group of community and faith leaders helmed by Chowan Instructor in Religion and Director of International Student Affairs Jill Awuni has taken up the call to do even more.
The Bridge Fund was established to help “bridge the gap” to make it possible for students of promise to stay in school and continue their education. Sometimes a minimal gift of support is all that’s needed to ensure a student’s ability to complete their education. The group, which includes Jeremiah Cole, LaTisha Flood, Athony Rawlings, and Clarence Russell, is made up of current and former Chowan students well-acquainted with the rigors of academic and financial challenges.
“I am inspired by Chowan’s motto: Faith In Your Future,” says Russell. “However, when one is making the journey from the present to the future, you need a bridge,”
The group believes deeply in the communal responsibilities of caring for and educating young people.
“In Africa we say it takes a village to raise a child,” Awuni says. “This simply means we are all in this together. I can’t sit and say, I am not an American, I don’t know these students, therefore, I should not bother myself with them. The world is that village, one of these students will become my lawyer, minister, doctor, pilot, caterer and co-workers or they can become the problem in the world or society. If I turn my back on them, I will reap the pain.”
The Bridge Fund also emphasizes the exponential power that occurs when everyone gives what they can from whatever resources might be at their disposal. “I am not rich, but little drops make a mighty ocean, and it starts with one drop. I want to be the first drop and hope that everyone drops their drop,” Awuni continues. “I remember when someone bridged the gap for me to be where I am today. It was the village’s responsibility to raise me, and now I participate in this global village. In giving, I find the meaning of my living. The Bridge is your baby, too. Let’s take care of this village.”