Our society may be conflicted over many things these days, but we all understand that with guidance, support and opportunity, there is hope.

What more can you give?

As we head into the festive season, a traditional time of gifts and celebrations, the “spirit” is feeling a bit chilled by the devastation and chaos of Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole.

Family, friends, neighbors and communities must always rely on the generosity of each other and strangers to help with debris removal, cleanup and navigational aid applications.

More than 30 days after the storm hit, there are still communities without running water, people without homes, and a looming sense of economic instability and exhaustion.

Overnight, thousands of jobs, mostly in the service sector, were lost, businesses were destroyed and, despite the optimism of many promising to rebuild, the immediate reality is that incomes have disappeared.

So what more can you do?

As it is often said, time is a great healer, but so is hope. The gift of hope is about the possibility of better things to come.

But how do you “offer” hope? Lasting hope?

There’s an American proverb that says “education is a gift no one can take away” – not an ugly boss, a struggling economy, or an awful storm! Once a person has earned their degree or certification, that knowledge is theirs forever.

So maybe now, during this time of giving, as we work to rebuild our communities and look for ways to help each other, investing in a student’s educational needs through a scholarship may be the best gift ever.

This type of gift is for a student who is stressed during this difficult time, who has lost his job, and who has very well lost hope. This gift of encouraging a student to start a career program or continue the course they started, complete their education, and invest in themselves as they pursue a new career, such as nursing, clinical mental health or physical therapy assistant, will not only change the trajectory of their lives, but positively impact ours.

By contributing to a scholarship fund, you help our community heal and thrive. A student, receiving a scholarship, will be able to stay in school, complete their program, and join the Southwest Florida workforce with a career that no storm can wash away. It is a lasting hope.

Our society may be conflicted over many things these days, but we all understand that with guidance, support and opportunity, there is hope. Helping someone acquire the tools they need to start a career that will sustain them through difficult times is truly the most incredible gift.

Together, we can all do our part to uplift our community, rekindle hope, and build back better than ever.

To learn more about how you can help a current student in need with a scholarship donation, contact Associate Vice President of University Advancement Angie Manley at [email protected]

Hodges University is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization; your donation is tax deductible ¦