United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, (UCAN) Inc.

"YOU CAN Change the World!"



UCAN's  Previous Scholarship Winners!


     Along with the privilege to serve, one of UCAN's tasks is fund raising.  Funding is needed for our programs, scholarships and outreach.  Scholarship priority will be given to the areas that support these efforts and need support the most. The largest scholarships are based on need, academic achievements, leadership and/or community involvements.  Some scholarships or prizes are also available by competing in essay, oratorical, poetry or other contests.  As funding is available, a small amount of scholarships can be offered to those teaching important skills in struggling areas of the world.  


    "YOU CAN  Help to Change Our World!"

*Note, generally, areas outside of the Tri-State will only use funds that are raised in that geographical area for those specific scholarships, except for skill offerings in struggling areas or disaster.


 Following is an application for Tri-State residents.*   Please copy, print and return your completed application to UCAN's address below:

United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, Inc. (UCAN)

Tri-State Scholarship Application:





Final selections will not be based upon academics, income, major or minority status alone.  Other  factors  include: Leadership and Community Service as well as Vision and Writing Skills.  For diversity, we are targeting those minority groups (less than 10% of the general student population) that nationally consistently reflect gaps in standardized test scores or have dropout rates over the national’s average 20%.  We also want to encourage students "taking" AP classes.  (Please attach another sheet if enough room to complete your answers is not provided.)


These awards will be shared between 1-2 students applying for these scholarships.  Please check the category (categories) for which you are applying.  Each of the 1st place winning recipients can be awarded  $125.00 each*.   The same person is not eligible to win both scholarships if other contestants exist.


1.  Honor Roll Scholarship: Above average student with 3.0 GPA or higher ___

2.  Financial Scholarship: Free Lunch and/or Title I student with 2.5 GPA or higher ___

3.  Diversity & Leadership Scholarship: Minority with 2.25 GPA or higher  ____

4.  Arts Scholarship: Majoring in Music, Drama, Literature or Art and meet one criteria above (1-3)   ___


Name ______________________________________Age ____Phone ________

Address _______________________________________ Zip _______________

Email Address _____________________________________________________


Institution you attend or plan to attend ___________________________________

Campus: _______________ Address: __________________________________

GPA:_______  Major/ area of interest ___________________________________

High School or College Attending ________________________County_________

Clubs and Activities (offices held & years)



Community and Church Activities (offices held & years)



Special Awards, Honors or AP Classes taken  (list year received/taken)



Please list most challenging courses that you chose:




List Two-three Community Leader or Teacher References and Attach ONE letter of recommendation by a non-relative:

Name and Position                                                  Email and Phone:

1. ______________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________



List any scholarships you received:

Name of Scholarship            Name of Organization Sponsoring    $Amount                                      






Your Signature: ___________________________________Date: ____________

Parent Signature:( if under 18 years old) _______________________  Date ________

I, __________________________________, give permission for my (above named) child/myself to compete in this contest and to have his/her/my name, essay and/or excerpts, entrant's picture and/or likeness advertised in UCAN's brochures, website, social media outlets, blogs, press releases, etc.  The entries will become the property of  United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, Inc. (UCAN/UCAN, Inc.)  and will not be returned.  I also understand that decisions on selecting the winners are solely up to UCAN, Inc. and/or any judges selected by UCAN, Inc.  Visit ucanchange.webs.com/scholarships.htm for official rules and more information.

Submit your application to Brenda Martin, President; UCAN, Inc.; P.O. Box 104, Russell, KY  41169, postmarked by the above deadline during the year graduating from high school. There is no fee to apply. Questions can be directed to Brenda Martin, email: ucanhelp@windstream.net with UCAN Scholarship in the subject. The selected recipients will be notified using the contact information provided who will then be required to send us your Fall class schedule, a copy of your college registration &/or receipt.

More Official Contest Rules 

After the last drop date, confirmation from your college counselor, or appropriate staff, must confirm your full time enrollment at the college prior to us sending your award.   Failure to do so can cause the award to be forfeited and/or offered to the next runner-up.  Checks will be sent sometime after the last date to drop courses to assure your full-time status.  Also, if you do not complete that semester, have a minimum 1.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale as well as maintain full-time continuous enrollment, you will have to return our monetary award.

Total primary Scholarship amounts can vary ($125-$250) based upon application pool and fund availability.  Flexibility can be extended in dire situations as deemed by UCAN, Inc.

Thank you for visiting our website at www.ucanchange.webs.com for further information and updatesUCAN, Inc reserves the right to select judges to aid in the winning selections, to select the winners or to "optionally" postpone the scholarship competition if there are insufficient entries. *A large portion of  the Rosa Parks Scholarships will be distributed to qualified Boyd and Greenup County Applicants, where the monies were raised, if such residents apply.  The Dr. Thelma Johnson Arts Scholarship is available to Boyd, Greenup Counties of Kentucky & Lawrence County, OH  where we also receive support.  Other awards and areas can also be considered as decided by UCAN, Inc.


Scholarship Application Checklist:


____  Completed and Signed Application


____  Minimum, One Page Essay on Diversity

         (double-spaced, 12 inch font, or comparable depending upon font style.)


____ Did you Explain Why or Why Not...


____ One letter of Recommendation by ____________________

         who is not related to me or my immediate family.


____ Other Attached answers to questions on application, as was necessary.


About Ms. Rosa Parks

      Rosa Parks, the "Mother of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement" was one of the most important citizens of the 20th century. Mrs. Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama when, in December of 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance.

     Her act sparked a citywide boycott of the bus system by blacks that lasted more than a year. The boycott raised an unknown clergyman named Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence and resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses. Over the next four decades, she helped make her fellow Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle. This pioneer in the struggle for racial equality was the recipient of innumerable honors, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1999 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Her example remains an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.

     This Scholarship is named after Rosa Parks, for her humble contribution to the Civil Rights Movement and her memory.  Her quiet stance and non-deliberate demeanor reminds us that we can change our circumstances just by taking our stand for what is right, regardless of consequence.  Hopefully, we are doing that with our outreach and your help, after all, "U CAN Change the world and Together, WE Must!"

       “We (people) are not fearful or divided as people may think.  I cannot let myself be so afraid that I am unable to move around freely and express myself.  If I do, then I am undoing the gains we have made in the civil rights movement.  Love, not fear, must be our guide.” -- Rosa Parks

       Mrs. Parks spent her last years living quietly in Detroit, where she died in 2005 at the age of 92. After her death, her casket was placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol for two days, so the nation could pay its respects to the woman whose courage had changed the lives of so many. She was the first woman in American history to lie in state at the Capitol, an honor usually reserved for Presidents of the United States.

About Dr. Thelma Johnson

Published: October 29, 2009 11:21 pm        print this story  



Beloved local music teacher laid to rest

Johnson was last faculty member from Booker T. Washington School

Mike James/The Independent

Ashland Known not for power or fortune but for her love of music and teaching, Thelma Johnson opened the doors of learning to more than a generation of Ashlanders.

She was also the last surviving faculty member of the segregation-era Booker T. Washington School.

Johnson, 99, died Saturday. The funeral for the retired music, English and piano teacher was Thursday at New Hope Baptist Church.

Many of those at the service were former students, either from her years at Booker T. Washington, Putnam Junior High School or her private practice teaching piano.

Johnson was a role model and a refuge of comfort for many who knew her. “She was like a mother to me,” said her niece by marriage, Betty Brown. “She was a caring lady with a sweet personality who never said no. I think that’s why people loved her so.”

“She was a mother to many people and she was loved by many people,” the Rev. Henry L. Mosley said in his eulogy.

While her former students at Booker T. Washington remember her with perhaps the most devotion, Johnson is most noted for her musical talent and skill at teaching piano. She received her master of arts in music education at Northwestern University in 1941 and taught music and English until her retirement, then opened a piano studio on Carter Avenue.

She was a member of the Kentucky Music Teachers Association, which gave her an Award of Distinction in 1977; her alma mater Kentucky State University awarded her a doctor of humane letters degree in 1980. A photo of Johnson receiving the degree was prominently displayed at the church.

“She had a great impact on me,” said former student Stella Whitlow. “She was the last Booker T. Washington teacher.”

As a teacher and mentor, “she was a person who talked the talk and walked the walk,” Whitlow said.

Another former student remembered Johnson as a rigorous teacher — but her strictness was grounded in her hopes for children. “She wanted you to learn, and not just halfway,” said Libby Brown.

“There won’t be anyone able to fill her shoes anytime soon,” Brown said.

Johnson also set an example for young people, she said. “We looked up to her for how a young Christian should behave ... She walked the Christian walk.”

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.


Excerpt from her published Obituary: Ms. Johnson was a graduate of BTW School in Ashland. After earning her bachelor of arts degree in music education from Kentucky State University, she began her teaching career in Columbia, Ky., for a period of one year. She earned her master of arts degree in music education from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
When she returned to her hometown, she began teaching English and music at her alma mater. She also taught at Putnam Junior High School until she retired and opened The Thelma N. Johnson Piano Studio.

Dr. Johnson was minister of music at New Hope Baptist Church and sponsored many recitals in the Tri-State community.