Bridgeport Member Receives Les Treize Scholarship

Four buildOn members in Connecticut received Les Treize Scholarships, awarded by the Fairfield County Community Foundation. The foundation awarded 15 academic scholarships to black youth in Bridgeport. One is going to Renae Johnson, a leader of Bridgeport’s Central High School buildOn program who will attend Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.

“Renae is a student that you can always rely on whether helping lead a service project or just for a smile,” said Aled Hollingworth, Program & Service Coordinator at buildOn. “She is always very positive, committed and one who leads through her actions.”

Johnson received a $1,500 scholarship based on her grades, but she credits buildOn for being the outlet for volunteer service that made her stand out during her interview. “buildOn is not the kind of program where you can sit in a corner. You have to participate and meet people,” Johnson said. “I met so many more friends that I would have if I was just sitting in high school for four years. buildOn got me all over the city.”

As a buildOn member, she volunteered at The Watermark, a senior living center, and at Action for Bridgeport Community Development’s daycare center. She also spent two years as a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisterss program, mentoring a girl in middle school.

One of the questions asked during the scholarship interview was what makes a leader. Johnson said leaders need to be able to learn from other people, whether if it’s from working on an activity together or being captain of a soccer team. “Instead of being a dictator, I learned from the people I worked with to help them.”

Learn more about the scholarship that was started in 1947 by “thirteen black women who set out to improve the lives of youth in Bridgeport.”