The Passavant Memorial Homes Foundation (PMHF) Community Service Scholarship was created in memory of Jamie Ellenberger. Jamie was a young man who Passavant Memorial Homes (PMH) was privileged to serve. He thrived in his community despite adversity. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Jamie successfully transitioned from living in a state facility to becoming an active member of his new residential community at PMH.
While part of PMH’s community residential program, Jamie was an enthusiastic and contributing member of society, both in community-based activities and in our vocational training program. His positivity and perseverance were always paired with kindness and a smile. After his passing, this scholarship was established in his honor, so his legacy can continue to make a lasting impact in the community in which he loved being a part of.
Through our scholarship program, we hope to encourage local students to pursue a post-secondary education as well as take a renewed look into their community and to find unique opportunities to become a part of its furtherance. We want our youth to recognize that community service can provide opportunities to acquire valuable life skills and knowledge as well as provide a service to those who need it most. We want to show students that their actions can have a lasting and a positive impact on our society at large. Community service can teach compassion and acceptance; it can foster cultures of inclusion and advocacy; it can build positive, lifelong relationships that can ultimately strengthen our communities. We want our next generation of leaders to experience that.
For the 2022 Scholarship year, PMHF aimed to award this scholarship to a student in the region who brings that same understanding of the value of community service, and this was found in Ms. Norah Carter of Pine-Richland High School in Allegheny County who was presented with a check for $10,000 to be applied to her college tuition.
As the Community Service Chair for a local organization, Ms. Carter has led initiatives to support Operation Christmas Child, collected over 800 canned goods and over 150 coats for local charities, and raised over $5,000 for Riding for the Handicapped of Western PA. Ms. Carter also realized that she had the ability to make a difference in the community by using her passion for mental health awareness to help other youth cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. She developed and facilitated five educational workshops for tweens and teens that focused on resilience, healthy behaviors, and adaptive coping using the 4-H Thoughts Matter and Health Rocks curriculums. As a result of the program, the youth participants articulated that they felt stronger, more confident, and in better control of their lives. Ms. Carter’s hope is that they take these skills back to their own communities where they can impact their peers.
In addition to many other examples of community service activities, Ms. Carter has also tutored her peers as well as eighth grade students in her school district, is a care provider to a student with special needs, and serves as the National 4-H Youth Mental Health Ambassador, a role she has held since 2020.
Ms. Carter had the opportunity to visit the PMHFOS corporate office in Warrendale, PA and convey to the PMHFOS executive management team her passion for serving others and her commitment to pursuing a career where she can influence change in order to facilitate opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Ms. Carter will be attending Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, in the fall, where she will be double majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and Global Health.
This year, PMHF received 118 scholarship applications from students across 19 counties in Pennsylvania. Ms. Carter exemplifies the commitment of PMHF and the late Jamie Ellenberger to serving and improving the community.
PMHF also awarded $2,500 scholarships to Laneah Hunker from Mount Pleasant Area High School, who will be attending Waynesburg University, and Christian Cropper from Eden Christian Academy, who will be attending Hope College, based upon their service to their communities, their passion for helping others, and the leadership they have demonstrated.
Should you have any additional questions or need more information, please email PMHFoundation@passavant.org.