The Sanders Firm Scholarship Winners 2016
The Sanders Firm is thrilled to announce the recipients of our annual scholarship award. This year we had such outstanding applicants that we are pleased to award three scholarships for three extremely deserving individuals. These people will change the world for the better. We are pleased to be able to award each of them to help with their financial burden at school.
The winners have demonstrated a true passion and commitment to the betterment of their local communities and we wish them the best of luck in their future careers as they advocate for social change.
Congratulations to Abdul Hafiz, Alexander Johnson and Autumn Tompkin!
Abdul Hafiz is a first generation college student in his family and grew up as an at-risk youth in Staten Island. Hafiz was introduced to the world of legal advocacy at the age of 8 when his infant brother tragically fell out of the family’s apartment fire escape window. As a young man, he helped introduce legislation to the New York City Council and the New York State Assembly and Senate, requiring all high-rise apartment buildings to install safety gates on fire escape windows. In his teenage years, Hafiz worked on humanitarian relief efforts to send medical and educational supplies to war-torn countries abroad and performed community service projects through the YMCA Global Teens Program. During his undergraduate tenure at Northeastern University, he contributed to various volunteer projects in his local community, from high school mentoring to creating a program designed to help minority students achieve academic success. This driven young man has been accepted to Fordham Law School, where he hopes to garner the knowledge and critical thinking skills to further his professional career.
“The initial success I have gained as an advocate for window safety, which then snowballed to various facets, remains a driving force in my desire to pursue a legal education. As I look to continue to grow and advocate for causes that I am passionate about, I know I will be better served if I am able to develop a deep understanding of the law and the critical thinking skills garnered in law school.”
On winning the award: “It is a known fact that a legal education can be a costly endeavor. Being the first in my family to graduate college and also first to pursue a graduate degree, the cost of attending school is a hardship. I am thankful and grateful to the Sanders Firm for this scholarship that will make it a bit easier to pursue my dreams of becoming an attorney. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” The Sanders Firm has now played a role in building my future.:
Through his new-found faith, Alexander Johnson has been provided opportunities to give back to his community and be of service in ways he never thought possible. As a teenager, Alexander overcame a crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol, which nearly claimed his life. His arduous journey to sobriety came about through a 12-step program that helped him practice recovery principles while fostering a healthy relationship with God. By conquering his addictions and realizing his negative behavioral patterns, Johnson came to realize how his struggles could provide hope and help to others.
“My entire life I believed a person might find purpose and happiness through material possessions, professional status, or even fame. However, in my experience nothing can be further from the truth. I found my purpose driven life through self-sacrifice and service to others in my community. Upon that simple foundation, the freedom and joy I receive on a daily basis is unexplainable.”
Johnson applied to Seminary with the goal of living a purpose-driven life and spreading a message of hope to those who need it most. He has enrolled in Criswell College, where he will pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry.
On winning the award: “I am extremely grateful for your abundant generosity. I will be using this money to help pay for my tuition, getting me one step closer to graduating. In the long run this money will have aided me in my ministry to reach lost and broken people struggling with addiction. Please know that by supporting me in my education you are helping in the advancement of God’s kingdom, I have been called to spread His love, His power and His grace through my story of recovery and redemption and now Sanders Law Firm has joined in and is playing a vital role in His story.”
Autumn Tompkin began volunteering in her Texas town as a young girl. After her sister was diagnosed as autistic, she began helping at “cure” events, but quickly became enamored with all facets of community service.
“My sister’s autism has impacted me in many significant ways, and it is what pushed to start volunteering. I view the world through a much more compassionate lens. My awareness of the struggles that people endure in addressing the health obstacles that they face compels me to be to want to be a part of the solution.”
In high school Amber spearheaded several projects that would benefit both her community and school, including a recycling program and a memorial garden to commemorate the lives of students who never got the chance to graduate. She also founded Duty Bound, which lists community service opportunities for all grade levels, allowing students to advance their leadership skills while giving back to others. Amber, who was accepted to Duke University in North Carolina, plans to become a medical researcher or doctor and hopes to apply her skills to advancing scientific research.
On winning the award: “I am going to be a biology major and chemistry minor with an emphasis on genetics and research. I plan to pursue a career in medical field upon graduating from Duke University, and thanks to the The Sanders Firm, I am one step closer to that goal. By awarding me a generous scholarship, The Sanders Firm has lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as The Sanders Firm has helped me.”