July 18, 2022
Each year, the RPC’s Community Action Board helps a special group of students from Champaign County through the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Scholarship program. Through funds awarded from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the scholarships provide a boost to the post-secondary study of the highly deserving winners.
One of this year’s honorees, Champaign’s Kerene Kombe, reflects on how the scholarships she has received have helped her and her family – and how she is ready to show the community that the investment it made in her future was a wise decision.
“I graduated from Parkland College with an Associate Degree in Business Administration in May 2022. In the Fall of 2022, I will start attending the University of Illinois at Springfield for the next two years, where I will major in Management, with a minor in either Marketing or Communications.
“Management was not what I initially thought I’d be studying. However, with time and going to classes, along my job and my volunteering work, a new interest surfaced. I’ve yet to decide on my minor, but I will once I finish the first semester at UIS.
“This is not the first time I have been awarded the CSBG scholarship. The scholarships I have received made it possible for me to finish my studies at Parkland with no debt. Having no debt has helped me keep a clear mind, to the point where I was completely focused on my studies and was able to obtain a GPA of 3.81 in the last two years (not easy considering the COVID-19 pandemic and so many things changing in the world).
“Not having to worry about how my classes will be paid for helped me shift my focus to what was important – my education. My focus has not just been on getting good grades, but on actually learning the lessons being taught, as well. This has helped me discover how I can bring what I have learned to the actual world we are now living in, while seeing the kind of impact it will bring to those around me.
“My father is back home in Angola, while my mother had to care for five girls on her own in the United States. My oldest sister graduated from Illinois State University, while my sister Plamedia and I will be attending UIS at the same time this Fall, which is why getting these scholarships has been extremely beneficial to our family.
“It was such an honor to have even been considered for a CSBG scholarship. I want to acknowledge and thank Audrey Mfulama for first telling me about this opportunity. I am grateful to have been chosen as a recipient and am making a commitment to do well with this investment the community has made in me.”