Hammond’s College Bound Program: Investing in the City and its Kids

HammondCityAddress2015 2It’s no secret that the City of Hammond has taken new and innovative strides towards building community pride, sustainability, and focusing on the future. And one of the ways they are doing this is through the College Bound Program, which aims to strengthen home ownership and invest in the city’s most important resource: its kids.

“(College Bound) started from a phone call from my attorney on Thanksgiving morning,” Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said about the program. “It was about a program called the Kalamazoo Promise. We took that concept and really expanded upon it to focus on home ownership and education.”

The program works like this: If you are a high school student in Hammond whose parents or legal guardians have owned a home in Hammond from grades 6-12, then you are eligible for up to $10,500 in scholarships from the city to any accredited college of your choice. However, even if you have lived in Hammond for as little as two years you are still eligible for College Bound scholarships.

And the result of this program is really a win/win situation for the city and the students.

Homeowners, by nature, are more apt to take pride in their home and neighborhood, as it is the biggest investment one makes in their life. Thus, Hammond is building a network of committed residents wanting to stay in Hammond and work on building their neighborhoods’ future.

But the College Bound Program also focuses not only on parents and homeowners committed to building the City of Hammond, but students who want to as well; as a student who is awarded a College Bound Scholarship must complete 40 hours of community service as a requirement to fulfill their end of the bargain.

A requirement these kids happily accept; as the students we talked to in the past see the community service aspect as a great opportunity for them to interact with the community of Hammond and do good in their neighborhood.

“It’s really helpful,” College Bound recipient, Lauren Salley told us. “And it also helps in getting yourself involved with the community.”

But as much good as the College Bound program does for the city, it does so much for the kids. Often providing those who may have never had the chance to go to college the opportunity to do so.

The deadline for this year’s College Bound Program is Thursday, July 2nd. If you have any questions, contact the College Bound office at (219) 853-6503. And even if you miss the deadline this year, remember the program is all about the future.