MARQUETTE - National retail chain Kohl's Department Stores is once again offering its annual Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program to students across the country who make a positive impact on the communities they live in.
The scholarship program will give away more than $420,000 in scholarships and prizes to more than 2,200 young volunteers nationwide.
The prizes will range from $50 Kohl's gift cards to $10,000 scholarships.
Students age 6 to 18 can be nominated for the scholarship, with nominations accepted through March 15 at kohlskids.com.
"Through the Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program, Kohl's recognizes young volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and passion to helping others and bettering the communities we live in," said Julie Gardner, Kohl's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a press release. "During a time of economic uncertainty and high tuition costs, it's important to support extraordinary kids by investing in their future. We encourage parents, teachers, neighbors and friends to nominate outstanding young volunteers at kohlskids.com."
While nominees must be between 6 and 18, nominators must be at least 21 years old or older. Two nominees from each of the more than 1,100 Kohl's stores nationwide - including the store in Marquette - will win a $50 Kohl's gift card.
More than 200 nominees will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward post-secondary education.
Ten national winners will be awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarships for post-secondary education. Kohl's will also donate $1,000 to a non-profit organization of each winner's choice.
The program is meant to help support a sense of community involvement in young people across the country.
Since the scholarship program's beginnings in 2001, the retail chain has recognized more than 15,000 young people who have made a significant impact on their communities with more than $3 million in scholarships and prizes.
Previous national winners include a 12-year old girl who raised nearly $50,000 to help financially-burdened families with surgery-related expenses not covered by insurance and an eight-year-old who assembled and sent more than 350 care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan that contained candy, clothing and handmade cards from school children.
Students in the area are already participating in fundraisers and other types of activity to help better their community, including a recent - and still ongoing - fundraiser entitled "We Care" at Marquette Alternative High School which will help a cancer patient at Marquette General Health Systems pay for treatment the patient would not have been able to afford otherwise.
MAHS English teacher Cindy DePetro has helped organize earlier "We Care" fundraising efforts put on by the school.
"The money would stay locally and it would help somebody in our area receive treatment," DePetro said. "We picked cancer because some of the staff members and some of the students have lost parents and other direct family members to cancer. So when we make the donation, we're going to make it in the name of people that we've lost and love."
A group of students at Negaunee High School also recently collected old athletic shoes to help underprivileged neighborhoods anywhere in the country receive athletic surfaces, such as a basketball court, they may never have had access to.
The shoes were donated to national shoe company Nike which recycles them to make the flooring.
For more information or a list of past Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program winners, visit kohlskids.com
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.