The West Suburban Community Development Corporation, an organization affiliated with Miracle Revival Cathedral in suburban Maywood, has created a relatively unconventional college scholarship. Applicants will need to be more than good scholars to receive the money — they’ll need to have ideas for changing their communities, said Jay Watts, who wrote the “Make a Change” scholarship.

“Applicants simply need to go online, fill out basic information and tell us how they’ve identified a challenge or problem in their community,” she said in a recent phone interview.

Applicants will need to create a one- to two-minute video that will be uploaded to the organization’s website. People will have an opportunity to vote on their favorite videos but a committee will select the winner. Watts said that applicants can apply from anywhere in the Chicago area.

“Individuals just have to be accepted into a college or already enrolled in college. They can be in beauty school, a technical school, a junior college or a four-year university,” Watts said. “There is no income or GPA requirement. We just want to highlight people who have potential.”

Watts, a real estate professional by trade who was once the board president of a large men’s shelter in Chicago, said she came up with the idea for the scholarship based on her experiences trying to beautify her native West Side.

“It used to bug me to go drive through some parts of the West Side of Chicago and see all this garbage,” she said. “There were no trash cans. So I got some of my friends together and we designed garbage cans just like those cows on parade you see Downtown. That’s an example of identifying a problem and coming up with a solution for it.”

The WSCDC will give away two $1,000, four $500 and four $250 scholarships—all totaling $5,000. The initiative is sponsored by Pan American Bank & Trust, Daniel and Henry Insurance Agency and Wallace Funeral Home in Broadview.

“We are looking for our next ‘Thinkers and Shakers’ for answers, especially students of business technology and communications,” according to a WSCDC statement on its website.

“What if we come away from this with 10 solutions for problems in areas like Maywood, Bellwood and Broadview?” Watts mused. “A lot of times, we highlight the bad but the answers come from people who are continuing their education. These are the people we’re passing the torch to.”

To apply for the Make a Change scholarship, click here. Individuals have until July 30 to apply. Applicants will be notified by July 31 through an email that they’ve been chosen as finalists and selected to interview before the selection panel.

Anyone not called in for an interview by July 31 was not chosen, according to WSCDC’s website. The organization will have more scholarship opportunities available in the future.

Winners of the ‘Make a Change’ scholarship will be announced at a ‘Back to School Making a Change’ gospel concert, featuring Marvin Sapp, radio personality Angela Martin and Gospel artist DeAndre Patterson, who is also Miracle Revival’s pastor.

The concert will be held on Aug. 19, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Miracle Revival Cathedral, 2010 Saint Charles Road in Maywood. Tickets range from $20 to $45. For more information on the scholarship and/or the concert, visit, email or call (708) 865 2999.