The Caribbean Association of Madison (CAM) will award several student scholarships for the ninth consecutive year in September, and hold its annual golf outing to fund the scholarships on September 13.
“Our mission talks about giving back to the community and obviously through our scholarships we felt that was a good way to give back to the community,” Scholarship Committee Member Terry Rock said.
CAM, founded in 1994, celebrates the rich culture of the Caribbean and West Indies through sharing history and heritage of its people. In previous years, the organization made donations to the Haiti Relief Fund, ran a clothing drive to benefit students from the Caribbean who are attending college in Illinois and began a scholarship program for students living in Dane County.
“We started out with $2,000 and we were just giving out one scholarship,” Rock said.
In recent years, the organization has been able to give several students scholarships each year. Rock, who’s been involved with the committee since the beginning, said the CAM Scholarship offers the organization a tangible way of giving back to the Madison community. Each year the Caribbean Association of Madison hosts a golf tournament followed by a dinner to raise money for the scholarship awards.
“We average anywhere between 60-90 golfers. Then, we will have another 10-20 people for dinner,” he said.
Over the years the annual golf outing has become a popular fundraiser for the organization. Rock said golfers will often ask about the date for the next tournament and return the next year. The group often plans the fundraiser for the second week of September; this year the golf tournament will take place on Sept. 13.
“We thought that we had a captive audience and all we needed to do was reach out to those resources and utilize them,” Rock said.
The winners of the scholarship are also extended an invitation to dinner after the tournament. At the dinner, the winners will have an opportunity to get to know some of the supporters of CAM.
“It meant a lot to me to receive the scholarship through CAM because I have been involved with the organization since I was in elementary school and after volunteering, making friends with other members, and seeing how it has developed over the years, it felt great to know that the organization was supporting my education,” former scholarship recipient Emily Durrant said.
Durrant and her family migrated to the United States from Jamaica when she was about 8 years old. She said CAM felt special to them because of the community of people dedicated to keeping the spirit and culture of the Caribbean alive, even far from home. Durrant said the organization felt like family at times.
She said the scholarship award is not only a testament to CAM’s commitment to education but how much they care about individuals receiving the award. Since 2012, the organization has given over 12 students nonrenewable scholarship awards to use for any cost associated with their education. Durrant received the award several times.
“In college, CAM shaped my education by giving me a higher level of financial peace of mind which then led me to focus more on my schoolwork,” she said.