Unified Caring Association (UCA) holds scholarship contests throughout the year. As of this month UCA has awarded over 100 scholarships to caring students. These students are all ages across the U.S. These essays are a platform for young voices to express their ideas and experiences which brings more caring into the world. UCA designed this scholarship program to both reward kids for caring while also encouraging their kind heartedness and supporting their advancement in education.
UCA’s nationwide and program specific scholarships are created to reward students who write short, 500-word, essays based on the prompt question provided. Some examples are:
-How do you plan to live a life that promotes peace and Unity? How will you create the journey to fulfill this purpose?
-If you were the President of the United States, what would you do to promote Peace and Unity?
-How can caring and kindness be implemented more in your personal life and in your school?
-If you were the “Caring Ambassador” at your school, what would you do to inspire other students to be more caring?
The essay entries are scored on a caring rubric that differs from a traditional academic rubric. This allows students who may not typically be awarded scholarships to be celebrated and awarded for their unique talent of caring and kindness.
Previously Awarded Scholarships
Below is a list of our previous caring scholarship topics. These topics have inspired hundreds of applicants to share their caring thoughts, actions, and creative solutions to help bring more caring into the world today.
- High School Junior & Seniors Scholarship Winners
- Caring Ambassador Scholarship Winners
- USA High School Scholarship Winners
- High School Junior & Senior Scholarship Winners
- Covenant House Hollywood Scholarship Winners
- Pico Youth & Family Center Scholarship Winners
- Northern CA Covenant House Scholarship Winners
- Westchester Secondary Charter School Scholarship Winners
- High School Junior & Senior Scholarship Winners
Who Loves These Caring Scholarships?
School guidance counsellors, teachers and students warmly embrace our scholarship program. As the students write beautiful, unique essays on the topic of caring they engage their caring intelligence and are reminded of the importance of kindness. We find that our scholarship entrants touch hearts with their caring essays. It is so hard to choose the winners!
Want to read an example? Here is one of our previous winners who fills our hearts with joy!
“Genuine kindness is one of the most valuable traits a person can possess. Having real concern for those around you and caring about how they feel makes you stand out among everyone else. Nothing makes me feel better or lifts me up more than when someone goes out of their way to make me feel good and let me know they care about me. It is so important to treat people with kindness and respect, but this unfortunately is something that people forget to do all too often.
I was sixteen years old when, terrified, I was forced to move from my home in a small town in northwest Ohio to the city of Kaysville, Utah. Before this, I had rarely left the safety of the town I grew up in and leaving it for good was a rude awakening. The culture shock was brutal and my shy, quiet nature made it difficult for me to find friends in a place where I felt like an outsider. Starting over at a new high school was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. However, it eventually became one of the best because of the kindness I was shown by a few very special people. They became my friends, made me feel at home, and showed that they truly cared about me. They made me feel included, wanted, and even loved. The kindness they showed me during a really difficult time will stay with me for the rest of my life.
This experience taught me a valuable lesson. Life is hard when you are alone and don’t feel cared about. It makes everything difficult when you are struggling with feelings like these. However, even the smallest things can make a huge difference. A kind word or a simple question can change how someone feels. Caring and kindness can be incorporated more in everyone’s lives and in schools just by people making a decision to be more open, talk to someone, give them a smile, ask them how they are doing, be their friend. Be aware of who may need someone in their life or who may need to be shown some kindness and friendship.
Kindness and caring can be implemented by venturing out of cliques and going out of your way to make someone feel included. It can be implemented by inviting someone to eat lunch with you. It can be done by talking to someone new in class instead of only conversing with the friends you already have. It can be done standing up to a bully and standing up for someone in need. People need to be aware of their peers and be willing to reach out and make new friends. There were many times during that first year at my new school when just one person’s kind personality made my day better. Kind acts, big and small, change lives. It only takes a little mindfulness and a little courage to go out of your comfort zone to be kind and show someone you care.”
Want to read more about UCA scholarship winners and get an extra dose of positivity on you news feeds? Read other caring scholarship blogs, scholarship blogs on gratitude, and or follow us on social media: Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We are looking forward to sharing more with you!
Unified Caring Association (UCA) loves sharing with our caring community. The topics that we love to share often relate back to emotional intelligence. One component that is closely relates to emotional intelligence in empathy. There is just one troubling thing. We often have a hard time describing what empathy is and how we teach it to others. In our search for more information on empathy we have come across some great examples on how to bring more empathy to the world and our caring community. Let’s start from the top…
How can we define something like empathy?
In short, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of one or more people. We can take this definition a step further. We can add that we are then are able to express our feelings and connection with the others. This requires one thing, active listening with our whole being by using our eyes, ears, body language, minds, and more. This is because listening is a strong way to show that you care about the other person and the topic that they are passionate about. Brigette Hyacinth has a good point about listening, “The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence…[and] listening transmits that kind of respect and builds trust.” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/empathy-most-important-leadership-skill-needed-today-hyacinth/) Overall, when we listen to others and understand what they are saying when they connect with us we demonstrate that we value others and have empathy for them.
Empathy and Denmark
There have been many studies about how Denmark is one of the happiest and nicest places to live. “This is according to the UN’s World Happiness Report, an important survey that since 2012 classifies the happiness of 155 countries in the world, and that for seven years has placed Denmark among the top three happiest countries on a global level.” (https://www.morningfuture.com/en/article/2019/04/26/empathy-happiness-school-denmark/601/) A big factor in this relates back to how people in Denmark seem to value and incorporate empathy in their lives. This can be seen through the prominent concept of “hygge.” Hygge is a phenomenon closely related to Danish culture; this word is both a verb and an adjective and does not have an English equivalent. “Hygge could be defined as ‘intentionally created intimacy.’ In a country where it gets dark very early in the year, it rains, it’s gray, hygge means bringing light, warmth and friendship, creating a shared, welcoming and intimate atmosphere.” (https://www.morningfuture.com/en/article/2019/04/26/empathy-happiness-school-denmark/601/) This is a fundamental Danish concept that creates a sense of well-being. Interestingly, hygge is becoming a global phenomenon! If you search for hygge on Amazon, you will get about 6,000 results, most of which are books. Instagram has more than Amazon, with #hygge racking up 5.2 million posts and counting! SO, how does a culture foster a concept like empathy so effectively? The answer: By teaching, learning and practicing from the ground up with kids.
Teaching Kids Empathy
Danish schools have a unique curriculum incorporated in their education plans. Students 6-16 years old spend about one hour a week in school dedicated to empathy. These lessons are called “Klassen tid.” This is a fundamental part of learning life skills for these students, much like learning English, science or math for U.S. students. During this hour “…students discuss their problems, either related to school or not, and the whole class, together with the teacher, tries to find a solution based on real listening and understanding. If there are no problems to discuss, children simply spent the time together relaxing and enjoying hygge.” (https://www.morningfuture.com/en/article/2019/04/26/empathy-happiness-school-denmark/601/) This time spent on exploration, problem solving and growth of emotional intelligence helps the students connect with each other through activities that build empathy. Unlike other places in the world, there is no stigma or stress connected to this emotion. The stronger the understanding of empathy the longer and more sincere the student’s relationships are. These enduring relationships correlate to the prevention of bullying and success at work.
Empathy is a Life Skill
As we said before, empathy helps people be successful in their careers. This is because they are able to connect with their peers, are more goal oriented, and adept at team work related tasks. If we look back at Denmark, 60% of tasks in schools are teamwork based. Thus these tasks require the children to understand empathy in order to achieve good results. However, the focus of these results is not to excel over others, but to lift up your teammates that are struggling with the tasks. The success of the team is therefore the goal that everyone is striving for. It is because of the students’ skills in empathy that Denmark is often touted as one of the best places to have a career in Europe.
Empathy is then coupled with the viewpoint that competition is with yourself and not with others. Instead, Danes practice the culture of motivation to improve and the measurement is exclusively in relation to themselves. This is vastly different from the prominent mentality in the U.S. where the goal is to beat the other person and to strive for a win even if it is at the cost of your peers. “The Danes give a lot of space to children’s free play, which teaches empathy and negotiation skills. Playing in the country has been considered an educational tool since 1871.” (https://www.morningfuture.com/en/article/2019/04/26/empathy-happiness-school-denmark/601/) Most of this is achieved through collaborative learning. This style of learning involves bringing together children with various strengths and weaknesses in different subjects. The teams of students then help each other with their studies by working together on various topics and projects. This format teaches the kids that they need each other to be successful and to connect they will need empathy. Jessica Alexander comments that, “Many studies show that when you explain something to someone…you not only learn the subject much better than you would do by memorizing it yourself, but you also build empathy skills which are further strengthened by having to be careful about the way the other person receives the information, and having to put oneself in their shoes to understand how learning works.” (https://www.morningfuture.com/en/article/2019/04/26/empathy-happiness-school-denmark/601/)
The results are echoed by Avery Konda, who recently tried to explain the concept of empathy to kids. After trying to talk with children and pull out responses from them (which fell short of what he was looking for), he began to play with the kids. Through this play time with toys he helped the children discover deeper meanings of empathy. Konda concluded, “Students learn more from gamified activities that allow them to learn skills through application, more than they do through PowerPoints and traditional teaching…[They] take away more when they’re required to live and breathe the topic of conversation.” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-empathy-most-important-skill-world-today-avery-konda/?trackingId=ltUkZUWiNiFJLSRQ45YbyA%3D%3D) This is fascinating for all of us who are trying to excel in our careers, and for those that are raising children. If we all strive to listen closely to conversations with others and practice our teamwork skills, we can begin to strengthen our empathy skills. Building empathy takes time and consistent practice. If we look at how Danish culture has developed, we can begin to apply more empathy to our daily lives and continue to create a more caring world.
Even more than before we see kids and teens with their faces glued to their phones either texting, playing games, or any variety of things. (Ok, maybe we can include some adults in this as well.) With this technology literally at our fingertips, we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have great news! We have sourced amazing apps and games for ages 2 and up to play on a tech device of your choice. These apps and games are in line with our caring values, and are verified with Common Sense Media, a company that reviews , monitors and rates a wide variety of apps. Check out the variety of caring and educational apps we have found for our members that are available on iTunes, Google Play, or the Amazon Appstore!
Ages 2-5 Years Old
Wheels on the Bus
Do you remember the classic kids song that is often sung on field trips? This app has it in sweet and interactive ways. Parents and kids will probably giggle with delight while singing along with this newest version of “Wheels on the Bus!” You can even record your own voice singing the very memorable tune.
Crayola Color, Draw & Sing
Take some time to fuel you artsy side by being creative with this app! Kids choose a song to listen to while they create their masterpieces. Each and every action unlocks a new instrument or feature, even scribbling or changing colors! Your young artist will have a beautiful piece of art accompanied with a song in no time flat!
Ages 4-8 Years Old
Intro to Math, by Montessorium
It’s never too early to start learning new skills! This app helps teach kids an early education in math through a game. In this game the ‘student’ will manipulate objects on the screen to achieve the end goal. There are several approaches to numbers that this app presents to the kids using this app. Who knows, your child might soon be giving you advice on stocks and investments?!
Intro to Letters, by Montessorium
This is another educational app that we have sourced to help children recognize, pronounce and write letters! This includes lowercase and capital letters as well as phonograms to help sound out new or unfamiliar words.
Creativity and learning are connected at the hip, especially when they are paired up with interesting characters and engaging activities! With this app, there are many ways for self-expression. It covers important topics like phonics, storytelling, mathematics, problem-solving and more! Through this app parents can view and track the progress their kids are making which enables them to help their children set goals and celebrate achievements upon completion!
Ages 6-8 Years Old
Winky Think Logic Puzzles
Puzzles are one of the most endearing games on the market. They touch a place of nostalgia in our hearts. With Winky Think Logic Puzzles your kids will feel the joy in a new techno way! This app has 180 logic puzzles in a wide range of difficulties! Kids will mull over complex games with obstacles, mazes and multi-touch action while strengthening their minds.
This is an adorable family-friendly puzzle adventure requiring analytical thinking that can be fun for younger kids, teens and adults alike! Parents and kids play cooperatively to solve puzzles by talking it out to decide the best strategy to win the game!
This app is a strategic adventure that is a unique and fun way to travel. It is challenging, by not too hard for those kids that are on the younger side of the age bracket. The game plays the role of a little bug named Kribl. Kribl must traverse harsh landscapes inside the safety of a box.
Ages 6-12 Years Old
One of the most valuable skills kids can learn early on is mindfulness. This will set them up for success by giving them the ability to cope with stressful situations that pop up as they grow. This app helps learn mindfulness by providing the tools and practice with Flibbertigibbet, an animated representation of emotions that your child feels.
Your kids will have a grand time while improving their fine motor skills and practicing math! Each dot represents a number, players combine and divide them to solve math problems. This easy to use app is attention grabbing for all ages with fun animations and bright colors.
Plants by Tinybop
Virtually explore wildlife with this app. Learn about nature by crashing clouds together, or how the seasons change by speeding up time! This app has eye catching illustrations that are filled with details. With open play capabilities and every season is a new adventure, we cannot wait to see what our kids discover next!
Magisto Video Editor
For the older kids in our lives who enjoy video making, we have an app for you! This is a powerful and easy to use video editing app. It can add music to existing video, stitch together footage, create show stopping slide shows, and more! Let your teens’ inner filmmaker thrive and see what they create!
Your teen can explore language by choosing different categories based on their grade level. A couple of examples of the categories are: soundslike and compound words. Add on the fun by picking what challenges to do in the app. Unscramble letters to make words, practice spelling by testing, alphabetize words, or use them in a game setting! Tons of fun your your teen!
High School Story
Teen players set up their own version of high school. Try to win the game by surviving teendom trappings like dating, bullying and cyberbullying, self-esteem, and other social interactions that cause stress. Just like the messages in this app, learn to gear your outlook and actions to be positive, filled with your teens authenticity, kindness and more to help support digital friends. This app contains some challenging topics and quests that help instigate teens using it to think and practice caring actions.
Words With Friends
Do you and your teens like to play word games like Scrabble? This app is for you! Words With Friends is a Scrabble-look-a-like game that is more for teens and adults. It has fast match ups to challenge friends and other people online, and an open chat (which is unfiltered) to catch up with friends and family members as your play!
This is a full Sims game to build your dream house, get that highly sought after job and have your dream relationship. The Fremium version is fun, enjoyable and can be easily played without spending money on in-app purchases. How will your teen plan out their lives in this game? Maybe they will have that mansion with a pool, or that fun, fast-paced career that brings in the dough while caring for the environment! The options are endless. The sky’s the limit!
Whatever games and apps your children choose to play, we at UCA value that they are filled with C.A.R.E., and help your children grow into caring ambassadors. Have fun and enjoy the apps!
Unified Caring Association is constantly striving to help create a more caring world. We love sharing more caring information and resources on our website and through blogs that share caring in our community, activities, and reviews. We also send out caring posts on our social media accounts (Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter) to give inspiration throughout the week.
So many questions go through our minds as we think about our children. We want to make sure that our kids are able to handle all that life throws at them. Are they ready to take on life’s challenges on their own? (Or mostly on their own?) Are they able to focus on tasks? How quickly can they get back on track when they are distracted? These are a handful of questions that we ask ourselves and our children. All of these relate to one topic: is my child resilient?
When we type in ‘resilience’ as a Google search, we come up with the definition stating: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” This means that your kids know how to cope with their emotions and take action in spite of barriers, setbacks, or any other limitations that life throws at them. Resilience helps us measure and have the fortitude to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. How much we want to achieve our goals even if we need to overcome challenges to get there. It also requires emotional strength and emotional intelligence.
Is my child resilient?
As parents, we are constantly striving to protect our children. There ever-increasing reports about stresses that kids encounter in their lives, one of which is cyberbullying. Unified Caring Association has an easy and effective way to help keep our kids safe by assessing their resilience. Building up our kids’ personal resilience. Being resilient is one of the best skills we can pass on to them.
We have developed a simple tool to check on your child’s personal resilience by answering a set of targeted key questions about them, giving each answer a value between 1 (never) and 4 (always). Some example questions are:
-Believes in own abilities and competence?
-Can cope well with stress to bounce back?
-Shows empathy for others?
This tool is applicable to all age ranges. And much like our personal assessment tool, it is best to repeat this assessment over time to check in on the top needs your child has for building resilience.
Ready for the world filled with resilient caring.
Our children are filled with endless possibilities. With strong personal resilience, they are capable of creating a more caring world. Challenges will not shut them down, but instead help drive them to achieve their goals. We can all hope that they will continue to strengthen their emotional intelligence in an effort to help care for our communities, the world and each other. With tools like the UCA resilience assessment we can learn how to nurture ours and our children’s personal resilience, as well as learn how to pass along what it means to be resilient.
Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If your would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter!