West Side residents gathered in LaFollette Park, 1333 N. Laramie, earlier this month for a walkathon to raise funds for college scholarships.

The event took place Saturday Aug. 2. 

Members of the Family Altar Baptist Church and Austin residents exceeded its $6,000 goal established to help young members of the church going off to college. The JLP Scholarship Foundation Walk for Education event drew nearly 200 people. Along with the walk, a barbeque, games and music also took place. Some attendees walked five miles to support the cause.

Pastor Quentin Petties said the church raises money every year for youth members who maintain at least a “C” average G.P.A. and have a good report at church, home and school. Recipients also must be members of the church for at least three years and show the church their college acceptance letter.

Petties said the church has been able to help more than 100 children so far. The students receive a $1,500 stipend before the start of their freshman year.

“It’s not strictly just about the money; it’s about the growth and development of our youth,” Petties said.

As a recipient of the scholarship himself, Petties said the foundation helped him throughout his college years. The foundation, he added, is currently working to help more than 10 students with college costs.

Petties’ grandmother, Bishop Jennie L. Petties, founded the church and scholarship foundation. She said the church feels responsible for the children of the church, not only spiritually but also physically and academically.

Jonathan Dudley, a 16-year-old junior at Proviso East High School who participated in the walkathon, hopes to receive a stipend. Dudley said the church’s scholarship is more significant than other scholarships because it’s coming from people you know.

“I wouldn’t have as big of an urge to go to school if it wasn’t for this foundation,” he said.

Shamil Williams, 30, received a scholarship in 2002 before attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She’s still involved with it, helping to raise money “so other children can receive the same help.”

“When you receive most scholarships it goes to the school and you don’t get to see it, but this one is yours,” Williams said.

CONTACT: austintalks.org@gmail.com