E-mail: littleitalyfoundation@gmail.com    |    Phone: (410) 685-3116   

Little Italy Lodge Foundation 2023 Scholarship The 2023 Scholarship Application is available here online at our https://littleitalyfoundation.org/application/ website (also click on the Application menu button).

The 2023 Essay Question is: “With each generation, elements of our traditional Italian heritage tend to fade due to neglect, heritage blending and other changes. Many families have traditions rooted in that Italian heritage. Based on your experience, which two traditions reflecting our heritage do you believe are most important to preserve and pass onto the next generation, why do you think these two are especially important and how do you plan to ensure that they are preserved?”

Please note the 2023 Scholarship Eligibility Requirements:

The sponsor must have been a member in good standing of the Little Italy Lodge #2286 Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy in America as of May 1, 2022. The applicant must be a member of the Little Italy Lodge, spouse of a member, child, grandchild, stepchild or stepgrandchild or ward of a member who is designated as legal guardian. The applicant must be a full-time student (defined as enrolled for at least 12 credits per semester or a lesser course load as prescribed by The Americans with Disabilities Act) in good standing with a grade point average (GPA) of a minimum of 2.5 on a grading scale of 4 (or equivalent). The applicant must have been accepted for enrollment at an accredited two-(Junior or Community College) or four-year university or college located in the United States for the 2023-2024 academic year. The applicant is encouraged to file the FAFSA Form. The EFC, derived from this filing, will be a factor in the Program’s evaluation process. The Scholarship Evaluation Committee will only see the EFC amount derived from the FAFSA Form. The applicant has the option of not filing the FAFSA Form. If the applicant and/or the applicant’s family choose not to file the FAFSA Form, the area of financial need will receive NO CREDIT for financial need, which is one of the three factors considered during the application evaluation process. Those not filing the FAFSA Form must indicate so in writing on the application form. All awards are contingent on the verified accuracy of the information provided by the applicant and sponsor. New for 2023: The wordcount has been increased to between 750 and 1,000 total words.

Little Italy Lodge Foundation

Each 2022 LaFamiglia scholarship applicant was required to produce a 500 word essay on a topic of current interest as a major component of the application. We will feature a winning essay each month, and this month’s essay was written by Isabella Dolores Keh. The essay topic was:

“What parallels can you draw between the challenges faced by early Italian immigrants coming to the USA in the late 1800s/early 1900s and those faced by immigrants coming to the USA today? What lessons might be learned from the experiences of those early immigrants that could help today’s immigrants?”

When looking back into our Italian ancestral history, we can uncover lessons to help us in our own difficulties. Italian immigrants in the late 1800s/early 1900s faced numerous hardships on their journey to the United States. While there are many distinctions between past Italian immigration patterns and immigration today, there are also many parallels between the two groups. Italians traveled to America for a multitude of reasons, such as to escape violent and dangerous conditions, to look for steady work, and to seek refuge in a country where hopes and dreams were welcomed. Similarly, many immigrants who migrate to America today often seek refuge in an attempt to escape unsafe conditions and want to find stable work to earn money to send back home.

Regarding the journey itself, when many Italian immigrants passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry, they usually traveled by boat and settled in NYC or nearby cities. They would often contact relatives or a family friend who was already in the United States to find work in sweatshops, slaughterhouses, restaurants, and factories. The boom of the Industrial Age helped to create many jobs on assembly lines, in factories, and on railways that Italian immigrants would take immediately, despite the low wages and poor working conditions.

Immigrants are coming to the United States by all modes of transportation. Oftentimes these immigrants are detained before being allowed entry and even have to register documentation for asylum before they leave their home country. Immigrants now are settling all over, not just concentrated in cities. There are opportunities for work in urban, suburban, and rural areas, where current Americans don’t necessarily want to work since the jobs are often manual labor, like cleaning, restaurant delivery, or migrant farm work.

Both sets of immigrants, past and present, were and are frequently taken advantage of and have not been awarded their fundamental human rights. Landlords and business owners often take advantage of immigrants, allowing their homes and places of business and work to become overcrowded, unsafe, and hotspots for illnesses. In addition to illness, many immigrants developed diseases from the conditions in the workplace back in the early 1900s. Recent immigrants were not given the same safety measures and considerations for protection against COVID-19. These past unsafe conditions led Italian immigrants to organize themselves against corruption and malintent and are often thought to have helped shape workers’ rights and laws today. Recent immigrants can learn and have learned from past Italian immigrants as they organize together, especially migrant workers, against unjust and unhealthy working conditions that violate their basic human rights.

It is important to remember that all Italian-Americans, like myself and all the members of the Lodge, were immigrants at one point. We should continue to fight for our fellow immigrants and allow them to hope and dream for a better future, just as we were allowed to hope and dream when our families first arrived on American shores.