South Bronx United awards $5,000 in College Scholarships

2014 South Bronx United Scholarship Award Recipients Guibel Marino (left) and Aicha Fofana (right) with scholarship committee chair George Nantwi (center)

BRONX, NY – South Bronx United’s college scholarship program recently announced its third year of college scholarship awards.  The awards were presented  after the 2nd annual Graduates vs. Alumni game on June 28th to  two outstanding seniors, Aicha Fofana and Guibel Marino.

Aicha, 17, overcame enormous obstacles to become a high school graduate.  Speaking as valedictorian of Bronx Latin High School, she recently shared some of the challenges as well as the support network she has been fortunate to have.  Fourteen years ago, Aicha’s family fled war-torn Sierra Leone for Guinea on foot.   At that moment it would have been unimaginable that she would be about to attend the City College of New York.  While living with her aunt in the Bronx, Aicha maintained an excellent academic record with a 4.0 and top school rank.  She played on the inaugural SBU girls team and rejoined the program in 2013.  She says, “South Bronx United opens doors for youth like myself who want to be community leaders and provides a platform for their voices to be heard….  I enjoyed exploring cultures and learning from people with contrasting backgrounds.”

The second recipient, Guibel Marino, also 17, will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology where she intends to major in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering or Applied Mathematics.  She graduated this year from University Prep Charter High School where she had a 3.2 GPA.  Guibel moved from Ecuador when she was 9 years old.  She has been part of South Bronx United and the SBU Rising Stars high school girls soccer team for three years and has also volunteered with the recreational program and U14 girls program.  “SBU taught me how to build my own strength and personality both on and off the field in the academic, athletic, and social parts of my life,” she says.  “South Bronx United is my second family….”

Guibel will receive the PlaySoccer2Give scholarship for $1,000 to support educational expenses.  The scholarship is supported through PlaySoccer2Give, an organization that engages the New York City adult soccer community primarily through pickup soccer and soccer tournaments that help build awareness and raise money for charities that use soccer for social good.

Before Aicha and Guibel received their awards, they had they opportunity to take the field alongside fellow SBU female alumni to take on their former teammates, the underclassmen.  Although the female graduates-alumni team won 3-1, the boys game sent a reminder to the 2014 graduates they still have plenty of room to grow over the next few years; In the annual match, the boys alumni defeated the boys graduates, 4-0.

Since 2012, South Bronx United has awarded $15,000 in college scholarship to provide financial support to SBU graduates to help them attend college.  All nine recipients are still studying for their Bachelor’s Degrees at private and public colleges throughout New York state.  In addition to the new PlaySoccer2Give scholarship this year, the SBU scholarship fund is primarily supported by individuals.  If you would like to support the fund, donations are accepted at southbronxunited.org/donate.  For questions, please email info@southbronxunited.org.

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