The Dru Project awards 2019 LGBTQ youth scholarships

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Dru Project announced the five recipients of the 2019 Spirit of Drew Scholarship ahead of the organization’s third year anniversary, which will be on June 14.

Drew Adams, who will attend the University of Central Florida; Emily Silverio-Williams, who will attend Florida International University; Dean Rooney, who will attend Florida State University; Evan Malzberg, who will attend Columbia University; and Dalton Vanderford, who will attend the University of South Florida, will each receive $5,000 toward their education.

“The highlight of each year is the moment when we have the honor of helping send a new generation of leaders to college. Drew was vibrant, passionate and committed to creating a future we could all be proud of. These students embody that legacy,” said Brandon Wolf, Pulse survivor and The Dru Project’s vice-president.

The scholarship winners were announced on June 1, which would have been Drew Leinonen’s 35th birthday. Leinonen was one of the 49 Pulse victims on June 12, 2016. Shortly after his funeral, Leinonen’s friends banded together to help launch The Dru Project.

The Dru Project is an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization on a mission to spread love across the nation and promote gay straight alliances (GSA). Along with the $25,000 in scholarships awarded this year, the organization has given out $7,000 in grants to 12 different GSAs. They  also published the official GSA guide for Florida high schools.

“We look forward to celebrating our friend’s life again. He would have done it for any of us, so we’d be remiss to not continue Drew’s legacy and continue to fight for LGBTQ+ youth, just as he did,” said Sara Grossman, The Dru Project’s communications director.

To celebrate Leinonen’s legacy, the scholarship winners and the third anniversary of the organization, The Dru Project is holding an event called #BrewsForDrew on June 14 from 6:30-10 p.m. at World of Beer in downtown Orlando.

The event’s title sponsor is Left Hand Brewery out of Longmont, Colorado. Every dollar from Left Hand beer purchased at the event will be donated to The Dru Project’s scholarship fund.

#Brews ForDrew is a FREE event. For more information, visit The Dru Project’s Facebook page.

Main image courtesy of The Dru Project’s Facebook page.

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