By Vyllorya Evans
When planning their 46th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony live stream event, “Supporting Education, Building Community,” SWNA’s Education and Scholarship Task Force (ESTF) welcomed the opportunity to have Kenneth Ward, Executive Director of College Bound, as host. Mr. Ward is a long time Southwest resident, life-long educator, and youth advocate. His accomplishments and accolades are many, but most importantly, he has a heart for young people and knows firsthand how mentoring, caring, and investing in others can unlock lifetime potential.
College Bound, Inc. in Washington, D.C., works with at-risk youth in the District to expand their horizons and refocus students on the opportunities higher education can afford. In 2009, Mr. Ward assumed the Executive Director position, and under his leadership the organization increased the number of scholarship dollars and tripled the number of students participating in the program. In September of 2019, Mr. Ward established College Bound’s newest site in the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences building, located at 401 E St. SW. Since 1995, College Bound has served more than 60 students that have lived in Southwest.
Over his 15-year teaching career, he has received numerous recognitions, including the Fulbright Memorial Award, the Ward 5 Teacher of the Year honor, the College Bound Hall of Fame Award, and a Sallie Mae First-Year Teacher Award. He is a Fulbright Memorial scholar in Japan, has participated in a teacher exchange program in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and has volunteered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr. Ward has been instrumental in arranging study-abroad trips for College Bound students to Ghana, West Africa.
Ward knows first-hand the power of education and works to erase the achievement gap. “Getting students out the door is not enough. We must make sure students not only graduate from high school, but also have the tools and the support to succeed once they do.”
He tells his friends he doesn’t work anymore. “I get up in the morning and do what I love.”
Kenneth Ward has dedicated his life’s work to supporting youth through mentoring programs and continues to stress the importance of applying for scholarships. At least nine SWNA scholarship recipients have participated in the College Bound program, among them is Jada Miles, four times SWNA scholarship recipient and 2020 Dean College graduate (chronicled in the June 2020 “Southwester”).
SWNA ESTF members look forward to Mr. Ward’s hosting their awards ceremony and you joining them at the live stream event.
To attend the SWNA 46th Anniversary Awards Ceremony live stream event, held Sunday, August 2 at 4 p.m., please register at: www.swnascholarship.org. Donations can be made to the SWNA Scholarship fund at the same website address.
Jackie L. Williams, Ph.D., JSU Adjunct Professor and Southwest D.C. resident contributed to this article.