2018 Beat the Odds(R) Program Application >> Ohio Beat the Odds Program Application 2018
Ohio Beat the Odds Program Application 2018
Title:Ohio Beat the Odds Program Application 2018
Campaign Start Date:10/19/2018
Campaign End Date:12/08/2018

About the Children's Defense Fund

Founded by Marian Wright Edelman, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly since 1973 to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.

The Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds(R) Scholarship Program honors outstanding young people who are overcoming tremendous adversity, demonstrate academic excellence and give back to their communities. Each year, through a competitive review process, we select five deserving high school seniors from throughout Ohio for admission into the Beat the Odds program. 

About the Program

Five students will be selected by the Beat the Odds selection committee. Those who are admitted into the program will receive the following:

  • A $5,000 scholarship, allocated during college matriculation; a laptop computer, provided before the student begins college; and leadership development opportunities as they become available.
  • Honors at the 2019 Beat the Odds Celebration. Professional, autobiographical films of each finalist's story will be produced and shown at the ceremony. These films may also be shared with the media, sponsors, supporters and the broader public, as well as posted on our web site.
The powerful stories of resilience, courage, determination, and hope shared at the annual Beat the Odds celebration inform CDF-Ohio efforts to change the odds for children and serve as a stirring reminder and call to action for change-makers, policymakers, and every one of us to renew our commitment to children and youth.

Eligibility Requirements

For consideration in the CDF Beat the Odds Program, an applicant must:

  • Be a current high school senior who attends a public, charter, or alternative school in Ohio.
  • Have overcome significant adversity such as, but not limited to, poverty, disability, homelessness or abuse;
  • Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, and/or employment;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to their community and/or social justice issues;
  • Have a current G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher;
  • Plan to attend college, university, or vocational school post graduation.
The Children's Defense Fund welcomes students to apply regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Selection Process

Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by CDF staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic achievement, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.

Applicants for the Beat the Odds program will be evaluated based upon:

  • A completed application form (see "Apply Now" button below)
  • A personal statement, of no more than 750 typed words, that accomplishes the following:
    • Describes the major obstacles and challenges in your life and how you have overcome them;
    • Describes your past and current family, financial, educational, and emotional support systems;
    • Describes how you have been able to achieve academic success or show marked improvement in academics, despite your hardships;
    • Describes your commitment to serving others, for example: involvement in service clubs at school, community-based service, or taking on major home or work responsibilities.
  • An educator recommendation from a teacher who knows the applicant well.
  • A community member recommendation from a mentor, employer or counselor who knows the applicant well.
  • An unofficial high school transcript.


Honorees will be interviewed and videotaped to create mini-documentaries designed to raise awareness about the challenges many young people face. These mini-documentaries will be shown at the Beat the Odds Celebration and posted online as part of the CDF YouTube library. Applicants must feel comfortable sharing their stories publicly.*

*Honorees with safety or immigration concerns related to publicly sharing their stories should address these with CDF staff once they are selected. These concerns will not impact a student's eligibility for the program or their likelihood of selection.


Applications must be received by 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, December 8, 2018.

If you have any questions about this application please email Ohio-BTO@childrensdefense.org

Thank you for your interest in the CDF-Ohio Beat the Odds Program.


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