Miami Teen Refused College Scholarship Promised To Her In Kindergarten
A student was promised a college scholarship when she was in kindergarten in 2007. Now as a high school senior and approaching graduation, the foundation have seemingly retracted their promise to the teenager.
Ynette Lopez and 96 other children at her kindergarten were apparently told by the I Have A Dream Foundation they would receive $3,000 a year for a college or university course, if the course was in Florida and they got good grades throughout high school.
Lopez and her family moved away from Florida a few years ago, but the teenager’s mum, Zondra Aimes, contacted the foundation to check if her daughter could still qualify, to which she was told yes.
Speaking to 7 News Miami, Zondra said:
They told me, ‘Yeah, that’s fine. Why don’t you just keep in contact whenever you can?’ And I said, ‘OK!’
She’s a wonderful student. She’s been accepted into colleges already. She is an all around great girl.
When the children and their families heard about the scholarships, the foundation said they needed to work really hard at school to get the grant, something which Ynette has arguably done.
Since contacting the I Have A Dream Foundation, Ynette and Zondra have been given two different reasons as to why the teen no longer qualifies: one being that she had moved, another being that she ‘wasn’t qualified’.
7 News Miami contacted Stephanie Trump, the head of the Miami division of the I Have A Dream Foundation, who claims Ynette’s mum failed to keep in contact with them.
Trump told the news outlet 21 children had moved out of the area, yet 20 of them were still getting the scholarship. Only Ynette was missing out because, after the family moved away in 2014, Trump says they only heard from Zondra when she contacted them recently.
While Zondra doesn’t have the original contract she signed with the foundation in 2007, 7 News Miami managed to obtain a copy, and their legal expert, Howard Finklestein, had a look at it.
Legally, this is really tricky, because the contract is not clear, and there is wiggle room for both sides. The foundation has a strong argument, because after Ynette moved, she did not go to any of their programs, and Zondra said she only contacted them every year or two.
But favouring Ynette is that she got great grades, did volunteer work and became the kind of student the scholarship was created for. That’s why both sides have a good argument, and legally, it’s a tough call.
I Have a Dream is apparently a wonderful foundation, but no matter how charitable you are, your contract with the recipients has to be clear and concise.
They can say Ynette and her mother did not follow their rules, but if Zondra went to small claims court and sued, a judge might look at the vagueness of the contract and rule in Ynette’s favour.
While Ynette is busy applying for colleges – despite the news about the scholarship – Zondra is considering taking their case to the small claims court, and is willing to compromise with the foundation.
Zondra said, since Ynette participated in six years of the program before moving, she’d be happy with $1,500 for every year instead of $3,000.
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