Applications are open for a scholarship program for local Bronx youth headed to college. The Bronx Rising Initiative (BRI) has opened applications for the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship, offering $5,000 to multiple, high school seniors from The Bronx who have recently been admitted to college. The money is to be put toward their education, as the winners choose. BRI representatives said the scholarship program launched last year in honor of and in partnership with the family of a rising star from the community who, as reported by Norwood News last year, was shot on June 29, 2020, one week before his 18th birthday.
“Brandon was a consistent source of hope and inspiration for everyone that knew him and had recently been accepted to college with a full scholarship – the scholarship exists to honor his memory and uplift his peers,” the representatives said.
Brandon was born in the Bronxville section of Westchester County. He was a success story in his South Bronx neighborhood, triumphing over the pitfalls to which many other adolescents fall prey. The highly decorated student and athlete had just graduated from James Monroe High School days before his untimely passing. He was the point guard and captain of the James Monroe Eagles basketball team.
Brandon’s mother, Eve Hendricks, is an activist who fights to eliminate gun violence. As we reported last year, she addressed the crowd after “A March to End Gun Violence” in the Morrisania section of the Bronx on July 23, 2020, just a few weeks after her son’s passing.
Tomas Ramos is president and CEO of the Bronx Rising Initiative and founder of the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship. “What happened to Brandon Hendricks is very heartbreaking,” Ramos said. “This young man did everything right; he was an ideal student, a perfect son, and a tremendous all-around human being.”
He added, “Other young people may get discouraged and think that no matter how hard they work, they will never make it out. That is why the Bronx Rising Initiative decided to start the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship; to celebrate those students who have been working hard at school, at home, and for their community.”
Muhamed Bayo is one of last year’s winners and is currently attending Boston College. Speaking at last year’s event when the scholarship checks were awarded, he said at the time, “I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be the recipient of the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship award.” He added, “I never had the pleasure of meeting Brandon, but the way he brought the community together in such a meaningful way spoke more than enough about his character.”
He continued, “Starting college in the currently COVID atmosphere posed many challenges and unexpected costs, having access to this aid [allows] me to focus on what truly matters – education. This is the inevitable and crucial first step towards creating an environment where stories like Brandon’s are a rare occurrence.”
Another winner last year was Kyarah Eaddy, who is currently attending Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. On receiving the scholarship last year, she said, “Being from the Bronx is not easy. It takes a lot of courage to strive for excellence when all of the tragic events is happening around you so suddenly.”
She added, “This scholarship will not only lift financial burdens, but it’ll allow me to pursue my career in helping the youth to better themselves. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the determination to continue that counts. With this scholarship, I will continue to represent the Bronx empowering youth.”
As of May 2, 2021, there were 126 shooting incidents in the Bronx, compared to 56 as of the same date last year, a rise of 125 percent. Meanwhile, there were 137 shooting victims recorded in the borough as of the same date, compared to 61 victims as of the same date last year, a rise of 124.6 percent.
Across the borough, there were 36 murders recorded as of May 2, compared to 28 as of the same date last year, an increase of 28.6 percent. As reported by Norwood News, the 52nd precinct launched a new ongoing initiative last month, together with local businesses, the Jerome Gun Hill BID Association, and various City agencies to improve the quality of life for residents in a specific section of Fordham Manor, with the aim of curbing gun violence in that area, where the NYPD sees the highest concentration of shootings in the precinct.
The only requirements for applying for the scholarship are that applicants be graduating seniors from the Bronx who have been accepted to college, and that they complete a questionnaire which includes a written segment. To learn more about the scholarship, visit: https://www.bronxrisinginitiative.com/bhscholarship. Applications close May 31, and winners will be announced and honored at the Brandon Hendricks Community Event on July 7.
By SÍLE MOLONEY