The Riderwood Village Retirement Community in Silver Spring has donated $294,000 in scholarship money to 49 graduating seniors in the Washington region, including $132,000 to 22 Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students from five high schools.
Riderwood, which has 2,800 residents in independent living, assisted living and nursing facilities, has had a longstanding relationship with the surrounding communities. Its residents donate generously to support the annual scholarship program.
The scholarships are available to students who work at the facility. Riderwood employs about 400 students after school and during the summers in a variety of jobs. Most of the teenagers work in the on-site restaurant facilities; Riderwood has formal sitdown and buffet-style restaurants, along with cafeteria-style dining and a pub. Students wait on and clear tables, host/hostess, or work their way up to team leader or peer training positions.
To be eligible for the scholarships, students must have worked at least 1,000 hours in two years, attain a 2.0 GPA and demonstrate the ability to work well with senior citizens.
“We believe in giving back to the community,” says Fiona Divecha, Riderwood’s philanthropy manager. “I think our residents love having youth around them.
“And it’s a great job for teens,” Divecha says. “They get on-the-job training and they get encouragement. They get role models to follow.”
Riderwood also offers enrichment opportunities for the students, such as classes on understanding finances.
Each scholarship recipient receives $6,000 in funds and can use it at the college, university or trade school of their choice.