Samara Rawls is the recipient of Heart2Heart High School C.A.R.E. Scholarship, claiming $2,000 towards her higher education.
Samara was presented with the award during the Heart2Heart RED Gala Nov. 10. The scholarship was funded in partnership with The Dr. Bill Kent Family Foundation.
The junior at Piper High School in Sunrise aspires to be a biomedical engineer.
“I will create medical equipment for those in need, especially older individuals,” Samara wrote in her essay for the scholarship.
Samara’s work with seniors has already started. During the pandemic, she created a tutoring business for younger students and included seniors, to help them stay cognitively engaged.
She also led her Sunday school class in a holiday letter writing campaign to seniors. The group wrote 50 letters with motivational messages, scriptures and illustrations. The letters were delivered with a weekly food distribution through a local nonprofit.
“I am so glad I was able to leave a positive impact on them,” Samara wrote.
The campaign inspired her to write letters to her own family members, and she saw how the letters lifted their spirits. She has helped in the care of her own grandparents and great grandparents, including a 99-year-old grandfather, who recently passed away.
“I know firsthand the importance of caring for older individuals who have physical, emotional and cognitive difficulties,” Samara wrote. “I have taken steps toward helping isolated seniors in my community to make them feel welcomed and know that they are cared for by me and many.”
Over the summer, Samara volunteered at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Sunrise. She helped escort older veterans around the clinic and assisted them with their paperwork.
“It was enlightening to see and hear the veterans’ stories about their lives and how it was to serve in the Armed Forces,” Samara wrote. “I could see how they enjoyed our time together.”
She also experienced helping seniors abroad. During a mission trip to the Bahamas in early 2020, Samara volunteered at an assisted living facility. She helped to clean the facility, prayed with the residents and prepared food and supplies for them.
Samara plans to create a community service activity, organizing volunteers who will create care packages for seniors in the community.
“This will help connect seniors with younger generations, which is a benefit to both,” she wrote.
Earlier this year, Lucas Pagel won the sophomore award of $1,500. A final $2,750 scholarship will go to a senior in Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach County.