What’s Different at WAEF Now

What’s Different at WAEF Now

Last week Good Fruit Grower contacted WAEF to find out what we’re doing differently since the start of the pandemic. In our visit, I realized there have been a lot of changes at WAEF. It seemed like a good idea to share those out and keep our full WAEF community apprised. (Thank you for the idea, Ross!)

Career Development & Outreach

This spring we hosted nine sessions for current WAEF students featuring speakers from a variety of professions sharing about their careers, opportunities in their field, tips for securing internships and jobs and more.  The series was held via Zoom video conference.

These sessions stemmed from our core goal at WAEF that our scholarship recipients graduate on-time and career ready.   We do not want WAEF students to lose ground during the pandemic.  Through these sessions, students were able to grow their networks and gain credible connections in their future fields.

Our thanks to the volunteers that led the student discussions in April!

Alex Garcia , GanazAmy Jacobs , PayneWest*Anayssa Lemus, Newberry Elementary*Anika Grubbs, AmazonBart Gebers, Key BankCourtney Lane, Zirkle FruitDanelle Huber, CMI Orchards Emily Bautista-Herdt, PayneWestHeather Messer, Wilbur Ellis*Jenna Bjur, GS LongLauren Patti, PayneWestLidia Urrutia, Pasco High School *Michael Steele, District 12 Representative, Lake Chelan Chamber of CommerceMike Babenko, Northwest Farm Credit Services Miles Kohl, Allan Brothers”*Nancy Mendoza, CliftonLarsonAllenNate Fulton, PayneWestRolando Martin, Washington Fruit & Produce*Identifies WAEF scholarship alumni

A similar series of Zoom chats will occur in late June with topics typically covered during the scholarship luncheon workshops.

Conducting student outreach in this way is one of the Covid-19 silver linings at WAEF.  We are excited to connect with students in person again but also see video conferencing as an ongoing opportunity for mentorship and other WAEF outreach.

Scholarship Training – 2020/21

15 years ago WAEF began providing in-person scholarship training to thousands of students annually in the 45 primary schools districts where we operate.  The training occurs during the school day and is made mandatory for seniors in participating high schools.

Over the last few years, it has been getting increasingly difficult to access students during the school day.  We’ve held on because we believe in the value of the information shared but are now ready to adapt to a new format assuming school access will be even more difficult now.

The change in our work flows during the pandemic have allowed us to fully engage with the creation of an online scholarship training curriculum.  The curriculum includes short films utilizing staff and volunteers.  These semi-professional films help communicate the “personal” side of scholarships.  We want students to imagine a person when writing their applications, instead of a computer.

Students also have quizzes to take to test their knowledge.  Content includes avoiding disqualification (follow the rules!), requesting letters of reference, writing personal statements, and behind the scenes “insider” information about why some questions are asked.

The site launches in September with the start of the 2021 scholarship season.

Golf Tournaments presented by Wilbur Ellis & FMC

The traditional May tournaments will now be played late summer/early fall.

The Wenatchee tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11th at the Wenatchee Golf & Country Club.  We have a few sponsorships open for this tournament.

The Yakima tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15th at Apple Tree Golf Course.  We have just a couple of sponsorships open at this one.

If you would like information about participating, please contact me at Jennifer.witherbee@waef.org or (509) 663-7713.

We will be following the course guidance on play and food service and are looking forward to seeing everyone in person!

Scholarship Celebration Luncheons presented by Northwest Farm Credit Services

Our new plan for the scholarship celebration luncheons involves lots of celebrating and recognition, minus the “luncheon”.  We will not be gathering students, parents, donors and volunteers together this summer for the traditional recognition events.  Instead, we are creating a tribute film honoring our students and recognizing the luncheon sponsors.  The film will be distributed in late July and we hope will bring smiles to the faces of students, their parents and WAEF supporters.  Watch for that via this e-newsletter and on WAEF social media sties.

Scholarship Announcements & New Student Orientation

This year students received notice of their scholarship through an email announcement.  We tried to create some additional excitement around that by including a short video from WAEF staff sharing our congratulations.  We’ve also been able to assist with some virtual awards presentations being organized by some of the high schools.

New student orientation took place via a series of Zoom video conferences over the last two weeks.  I am excited to share by the end of the day today we will have completed orientations with all 92 new students.

We are very appreciative of our volunteers that have continued to adapt with us and help students continue on a positive path forward and for our donors that have continued to support scholarships and funding for outreach to students. If you are interested in donating to WAEF, donations can be made online at waef.org/donate or by contacting the WAEF office at (509) 663-7713 or jennifer.witherbee@waef.org.

Thank you!

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