2019 Beat the Odds(R) Program Application >> 2019 CDF - NY Beat the Odds Program Application
2019 CDF - NY Beat the Odds Program Application
Title:2019 CDF - NY Beat the Odds Program Application
Campaign Start Date:03/01/2019
Campaign End Date:05/31/2019

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 of New York (CDF-NY) 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 deserving high school sophomores from the New York City metropolitan area for admission into the CDF-NY Beat the Odds program. 

About the Program

The CDF - NY Beat the Odds Program recognizes current high school students for their tremendous resiliency. We work with students who have overcome hardships and still serve as leaders in their schools, homes, and/or communities. Every year, we encourage current high school sophomores to apply to the  Program that provides the following opportunities throughout the remainder of their high school career:

  • SAT preparation; one-on-one college advising; college tours; life skills & leadership development training and workshops.
  • Up to $10,000 in scholarship funds to put towards their college expenses.
  • Honorary recognition at the 2021 CDF-NY Beat the Odds Gala. Professional, autographical films of selected Scholar's story will be produced and published. 
  • Support services throughout their college career and beyond including internship placements, career guidance and invitation to the CDF-NY Beat the Odds Mentoring Program. 
  • Induction into the CDF family and an invitation to join the CDF leadership development ladder.
The scholars' powerful stories of resilience, courage, determination, and hope will be shared via CDF-NY's social media platform to inform the public of the organization's 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-NY Beat the Odds Program, an applicant must:

  • Be a current high school sophomore who attends a public, charter, or alternative school in one of the five boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island) of New York City;  
  • 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;
  • Be nominated or seek nomination for the Program from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or other adults who can speak to your character;
  • 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

All CDF - NY Beat the Odds Program applications are reviewed by CDF-NY 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 CDY-NY 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. If an applicant is selected as a finalist, an official transcript will be required.


Applications must be received by 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, May 31st, 2019.

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

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


Maria E. Caba
Youth Leadership & Advocacy Coordinator

Korla Collins 
CDF - NY Youth Leadership & Advocacy Manager

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