PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “Your family has been selected for a scholarship and we wanted to call and congratulate you,” said a voice on one end of the phone line.
“Yes! Oh my gosh, thank you,” said Naimah Buckner of South Philadelphia, who never dreamed a high quality education for her girls would come true, in one quick phone call.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Michael Turzai joined parents, donors and volunteers from the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia to personally call the families of Philadelphia students, selected to receive four year scholarships to tuition-based K-8th grade schools of their choice.
“My children are very bright and with them getting this opportunity to go to a great school, the sky’s the world,” explained Buckner.
6-year-old Kiama and 4-year-old Zarinah are one of two-thousand students from low-income families randomly selected from a pool of sixty-five hundred applicants.
On this night, Jackie Robinson was among those making calls, but remembers what it was like to receive one.
“I’ve got a parent on the phone who’s crying the same way I cried when I got this call, so it makes me feel amazing to reach out to someone and give them the same enjoyment I received.”
The organization, which focuses on K-8th grades, aims to build critical, academic and social skills early on. Something soon-to-be first grader Kiama doesn’t take for granted.
“I’m excited to go to a new school. And play and learn.”
“Children’s Scholarship Fund gave me this opportunity for my kids to grow and be great and do great things,” said Buckner.