In May of 1998, a family devastated by the loss of a child to a drug overdose anonymously donated $50,000 to establish the St. Vincent de Paul Substance Abuse Prevention Scholarship. The St. Petersburg College Foundation, through the Florida State Board of Community Colleges, subsequently matched the extraordinary gift dollar-for-dollar. By the end of that first year, eight students had qualified for the scholarships and were on their way to attaining Associate in Science Degrees, where they would eventually become Certified Addiction Professionals (CAPs).

The scholarships are funded each year with interest accrued on the $100,000 principal which is untouched to ensure the perpetuity of the program. To be eligible for the scholarships, usually between $300 and $500, the student must demonstrate financial need, maintain a minimum overall G.P.A. of 2.5, intend to become employed full-time in the field of alcohol-substance abuse after graduation, and be willing to volunteer at least 48 hours at one of St. Vincent de Paul’s District Office operations.

Scholarship recipients are chosen for both fall and spring semesters by a Scholarship Review Committee that includes representatives of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Petersburg College, other educators and the community at large.

More than 80 men and women have received scholarships since the program’s inception. Many have earned Associate and Bachelor Degrees and today are actively engaged in counseling and providing guidance to those recovering from substance abuse in the community, just as the Scholarship’s benefactor intended.

For more information regarding the Substance Abuse Prevention Scholarship Award, please contact our District Office for details at 727-823-2516. For information regarding a degree and certification in addiction, please contact Cheryl Kerr, Program Director of SPC's Human Services Program, at 727-341-3736.