The main focus of the Jones-Robinson Scholarship is to give a boost to low-income students of color who are seeking higher education. The scholarships are presented each year by The Sable Flames, Inc., the African-American firefighters of the City of Madison Fire Department. This year, the application period for the Jones-Robinson Scholarships has been extended to Monday, May 31.
“We made a decision as an executive board to move it back a little bit just because of the low numbers this year. We just didn’t get as many applicants as last year,” Brandon Jones, chair of the Sable Flames, tells Madison365. “I just feel like I don’t want a lot of people to miss out on this opportunity.
“We’re not exactly sure why things are a little bit slower this year, but we have not only extended the deadline, but we’ve made a conscious effort to reach out to all of the advisors at different high schools so they can let young people know about this opportunity,” he adds. “We’re making one last push because we want to get as many qualified applicants as we can to pick from.”
The Jones-Robinson Scholarship was created to honor the five children that perished in the Sommerset Circle fire of 1990 in Madison. The children, who were African-American, came from a low-income single-parent household. Following this tragedy, The Sable Flames, Inc. created a scholarship fund in the children’s honor.
“The Jones-Robinson Scholarship is pretty much the basis of our organization. The scholarship was born to commemorate the loss from that fire and the purpose of that scholarship fund is to help promote the academic future of a single parent or minority applications who are looking to pursue education beyond high school,” Jones says.
Do Jones-Robinson Scholarship applicants need to be wanting to pursue a career as a firefighter/EMT?
“I believe initially that was kind of the purpose for this scholarship – minorities looking to pursue a career in fire service. Bud ever since I’ve been on the committee, we’ve pretty much opened it up to anybody who wants to pursue further education beyond high school -trade school, four-year bachelor’s degree, technical school. We will support you,” Jones says.
Jones says its been a long pandemic for firefighters, Sable Flames included, but that they are doing well and ready to get out in the community like they are well-known for whether it be at their Second Alarm Benefit Scholarship Ball, their BOWLieve in Education fundraiser or their annual Richard Garner Memorial Ride.
“Now things are starting to open up a bit. We’re looking to get our face out in the community more and make our presence known,” Jones says. “We’re looking forward to being able to do the fun stuff, too, again. We’ve been doing a few things during the pandemic – like grocery shopping for families and delivering gifts around the holidays in conjunction with 100 Black Men of Madison – but we are ready to do more.
“One big thing the Sable Flames are pushing right now is renters’ insurance. The issue was brought to my attention by a fire investigator on the job when she would respond and investigate these fires that a lot of minority inventors were uninsured. Depending on the severity of the fire, they would lose almost everything,” Jones adds. “So we’ve created a campaign that we will push out really soon here that promotes the low costs of renters’ insurance and how $12 a month can cover up to $60,000 if something goes wrong.”
In the meantime, Jones wants to get the word out on the Jones-Robinson Scholarships, which will be three scholarships worth $1,500 this year instead of the usual two.
“To apply for the scholarships, it is pretty easy … it’s all digital this year. You just have to go on the website and follow the links, fill it out online and submit it via e-mail,” Jones says.
To apply for the scholarship, click here. The minimum overall GPA should be 2.5 and students should be accepted and enrolled into a degree program at an accredited college, university or technical college.
“An ideal applicant would be someone who is graduating this year or has graduated who is accepted into a school or university who has a little bit of extra-curricular in regards to community base and activity,” Jones says. “Somebody who is doing more than just going to school … somebody who can provide a couple of letters of recommendation and meet the grade requirements.”
You can also submit your application and questions about the 2021 Jones-Robinson Scholarship to Trevor Wiggins at firstname.lastname@example.org.