Thanks to the generosity of Masonic Village residents, 11 dining room servers received $4,000 college scholarships.
Faced with staff shortages affecting the food services industry as a whole, Masonic Village had to pause table service in its restaurant. Residents wanted to help with the situation, and being aware of scholarship programs at local schools, formed a Dining Services Scholarship Committee, which includes four residents and Eric Gross, executive director. Their aim was to help recruit servers, many of whom are high school and college age, by offering them assistance with their future education through scholarships made possible through donations from residents.
“With the scholarship program, we thought it might encourage people to work here and put in more time and be rewarded,” committee co-chair Mike Glenn said. “We were so successful, we were able to increase our initial offer from $1,500-$2,000 scholarships to $4,000 scholarships. These kids are really great people. They’re good students and going into interesting areas of study.”
To qualify, servers must have worked at least 312 hours, submitted a short essay and application and already be attending or accepted to college. In total, more than $63,000 was contributed during what will become an annual campaign. The additional funds collected will be used for next year’s scholarships.
“Masonic Village feels like family,” said scholarship recipient David Binley (shown above right with residents Marlene and Bill Moisey), who has worked as a server since 2019 and is an economics major at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. “I appreciate going to work every day. I enjoy bringing in new people, training them and helping them see it’s a great place to work. I thank everyone who contributed. It was very, very generous.”
Recipients, in addition to David, include: Hunter Brace, studying business at Slippery Rock University; Mia Burens, studying biology/pre-med at University of Pittsburgh; Natalie Grillo, studying accounting at Penn State University; Miranda Johns (shown above left with residents Janet Maier and Randy Glass), studying forensic science/law at Duquesne University; Megan Meng, studying biology/pre-med at Duquesne University; Dylan Palmer, studying exercise science at Chatham University; Mary Pangburn, studying psychology/pre-med at Boston College; Zoe Staley, studying nursing at Beaver County Community College; Samuel Veleke, studying chemistry at University of Central Florida; and Jennifer Weiss, studying nursing at Carlow University.
The program is already having a positive impact on the recruitment of new servers. In the first three months of 2022, Masonic Village hired one server. In the following three months, after publicizing the scholarship program, Masonic Village hired five new servers, increasing the average total number from 24 to 30.
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