SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Monday, the Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area chapter celebrated its 15th year of scholarship rewards, with $205,000 being awarded to various students from Future Achievers, HACER and ASIA in addition to its own scholar program.
To date, the Bay Area chapter has awarded more than $2 million from its scholarship committee to more than 1,900 students since the program’s inception in 2002. Wai-Ling Eng, a long time McDonalds owner and operator, sits on the committee and spearheads the scholarship efforts. The amount raised by Eng and her counterparts is matched dollar for dollar by the National Ronald McDonald House Charities, she said.
Eng and her committee members scour through each application students submit to them through the foundation’s website. The selection process ultimately boils down to four points, she said.
“There (are) four major segments that we pay extra attention to,” she said. “You have your GPA (and) academics, your financial need, your letters of recommendation from teachers or employers or community leaders. But I think we put the most weight on community involvement and leadership activity, because we want to identify the students who have the heart to give back to their communities.”
Eng has been a McDonald’s franchise owner for 25 years, and owns the same amount of restaurants throughout the Bay Area. She said her passion for the scholarship and other charity work is driven in part to how she arrived in America.
“I was a new immigrant in this country and my parents came with a big family, we had seven kids. They didn’t speak any English, so we had to really struggle,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the graciousness of my teachers and getting a scholarship myself, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my education and get to where I am.”
In addition, to recognize the community service of scholarship recipients, the charity also presented community organizations with $1,000 grants. RMHC Scholars worked with recipient organizations to help improve their community.
One of those scholars, Swetha Revanur of San Jose’s Evergreen Valley High School, was selected as one of the Ronald McDonal House’s winners of its general scholarship.
During her senior year, Revanur amped up her efforts in learning how to apply computer science to solving problems around the world.
“For example, I’ve built applications to help address the sanitation issues in India and I’ve also built apps to promote tobacco abstinence for youth.”
Revanur has been accepted and plans to attend Stanford University, where she will study computer science and is thinking about attending medical school once graduated.