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Three undergraduates will spend the next year pursuing public service projects with $25,000 fellowships from the Stride Rite Charitable Foundation (SRCF).
Amy Leung '00 and roommates Ari M. Lipman '00 and Joseph M. Garland '00 were awarded the prize Monday for their extensive past community service and the quality of their public service project proposals. They will spend the next year working with local non-profit organizations.
Leung will focus on community advocacy and empowerment projects with the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA).
Lipman plans to implement a housing program with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) and Garland will work to improve after-school programming with Parents United for Child Care.
"I'm vastly appreciative of this award, because it enables me to do exactly what I want to do," Lipman said.
All three students worked with the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) as undergraduates and plan to pursue careers of public service.
Lipman has worked with the University Lutheran Shelter for three years, where he said he was exposed to the frustrations of the local housing shortage.
"It's an impossible job to find housing for somebody working full time for $6 to $7 an hour," he said.
Lipman will work with a new division of the GBIO that pressures politicians to improve the local housing situation.
Garland, Lipman's roommate, has worked extensively with middle-school youth.
He wrote in his award application that he feels a special connection with children from war-torn regions because of his family background. Garland's mother grew up on the Thai border during the conflicts in Southeast Asia.
"I have a deep interest in refugee teenagers, and I understand the feeling of growing up not looking and feeling like many of those around me," he wrote.
Close ties to the Chinese immigrant population motivated Leung to work within the immigrant community.
This year, Leung helped CPA establish a computer lab for Chinatown residents. Next year, she will work with the group to improve financial and educational opportunities for youths.
"We will primarily be working on empowering high school students to be active in their communities," Leung said.
After the fellowship ends, Leung plans to serve the community as an educator or a lawyer.
The awards were founded jointly by the SRCF and the University in 1983 and are part of the Stride Rite Community Service Program, which also includes term-time public service scholarships.
Arnold Hiatt '48 established both Stride Rite programs when served as CEO of the Stride Rite shoe company. As an alumnus, Hiatt said he feels community service should be an important part of a Harvard education.
"I began this program because I felt Harvard wasn't paying enough attention to community service," he said.
Hiatt has since founded similar public service grants at other area universities.
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