Volunteer Spotlight: TJ Williams named 2016 Benn Family Fund Scholarship recipient

Since 2008, Volunteers of America has awarded the Benn Family Fund Scholarship to an outstanding high school student in Kentuckiana for his or her volunteerism with our organization and the community. TJ Williams, an incoming freshman at University of Louisville, was chosen as the 2016 Benn Family Fund Scholarship recipient for his exceptional contributions to Volunteers of America, as well as many other achievements and volunteer projects with other area organizations, like the American Red Cross and Virginia Avenue Baptist Church.

This scholarship is made possible by The Louis M. and Florence G. Benn Family Fund, which was created by the Benn family trust to support Volunteers of America and other organizations Mr. and Mrs. Benn supported throughout their lives.

TJ was first introduced to Volunteers of America at a PNC Bank Financial Empowerment workshop at our Louisville Family Housing Services led by his mother, longtime supporter and volunteer Deborah Williams. TJ was so interested in the services we provide to families facing homelessness that he decided to work with Volunteers of America on his Eagle Scout Award project. TJ planned and executed a multi-site project - building, painting and installing Little Free Libraries at three Volunteers of America program sites across the city. (Read more about TJ's Eagle Scout Project here.)

"TJ really knocked it out of the park in his volunteer project. He engaged in a planning process, recruited other volunteers, and demonstrated tremendous leadership and commitment in seeing this project through," said Donna Trabue, Volunteers of America Chaplain, who worked closely with TJ on his Eagle Scout project. "His dedication and valuable gift of time and effort is so very worthy of this recognition with the Benn Family Fund Scholarship."

In addition to being named the Benn Family Fund Scholarship recipient, TJ also earned his Eagle Scout Award for his Little Free Libraries project and is one of just 10 students who received a University of Louisville Brown Fellow Scholarship, a full-tuition, room, board and book scholarship awarded to well-rounded, high-achieving students. He is also a member of the YMCA Black Achievers and the Lincoln Foundation's Whitney M. Young Scholars. TJ graduated as a valedictorian from duPont Manual in May and plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Louisville.

"I am so grateful to the Benn family and to everyone at Volunteers of America for the generous scholarship that has been provided to me to help with my education. This is a wonderful organization, and it has impacted me tremendously. I look forward to helping others in the community through my volunteerism with Volunteers of America."

TJ and all of our youth volunteers are an integral part of our mission and services at Volunteers of America, and without their support, we could not do the work that we do.