One of our most treasured annual events happened on May 5th, when the PFLAG Denver Scholarship Program awarded $10,000 in scholarships to three very deserving high school students! This was our biggest year yet in terms of award amounts, number of submitted applications, and number of difficult hours the committee put in to decide which applicants would receive our three scholarships!
In front of a packed, excited house, the three 2016 scholarship recipients were introduced and spoke to us about their journeys to arrive where they are today, their leadership experiences, their plans for the future, and how our monetary help will give them a boost into a wonderfully bright future. Both of our top two scholarship donors ̶ Dean Lewallen (all the way from Brooklyn) and Rex O’Neal ̶ were in attendance, as were many of our generous 2016 fundraiser donors, parents of awardees, and a smiling crowd of well-wishers.
Janet and Dean Lewallen introduced Brian Alfredo Pena Guevara, the 2016 recipient of the $5,000 Elinor and Tom Lewallen Memorial Scholarship! Dean delighted us with loving details of his parents’ lifelong accomplishments and how they both would have been so proud of Brian. Supporting same-sex rights was far from popular 38 years ago. But after Janet came out to Elinor and Tom in 1978, they eventually made it a mission to educate people on gay rights. Elinor said in one of her writings, “I chose some of the causes, but the big one – sexual orientation ̶ chose us. We could do no other.” Both Elinor and Tom had a burning desire to share the love of God with all of God’s people; to live out the commandment to love all as brothers and sisters. In their own quiet way (and when necessary not so quiet), their passion for justice for all people has moved us forward. The Scholarship Committee believes that Brian shares these values of justice and action.