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AFT Family Members Awarded Union Plus Scholarships

Union Plus has awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 130 students representing 43 unions, including 11 honorees representing AFT, in the 2011 Union Plus Scholarship Program. The AFT members and children of members who received scholarships this year are:

Amanda Bellamy of Sorrento, Fla., whose mother Cynthia Bellamy is a member of AFT Local 3783, was awarded a $500 scholarship.

Hanna Choi of Portland, Ore., whose mother Soon Choi is a member of AFT Local 6732 and whose father also is a union member, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Jean Choi of Portland, Ore., who is also the daughter of Soon Choi of Local 6732, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Noah Connally of Santa Barbara, Calif., whose father Daniel Connally is a member of AFT Local 2141, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Hunter Coulombe of Mukilteo, Wash., whose mother Karen Coulombe is a member of AFT Local 4087, was awarded a $750 scholarship.

Nevin Daniel of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., whose parents Pappachan and Sudha Daniel are both members of AFT Local 4053, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Ramsey Kovacic Daniels of Pittsburgh, Pa., whose mother Kristin Kovacic is a member of AFT Local 400, was awarded a $4,000 scholarship.

Madelaine Kingsbury of Upper Darby, Pa., who is a member of AFT Local 3, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Aly McKnight of Amherst, N.H., whose parents Michael and Jacqueline McKnight are members of AFT Local 1044, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Marina Nogueira of Marina, Calif., whose father Marcelo Nogueira is a member of AFT Local 4400, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Alyssa O'Connor of Rochester, N.Y., whose mother Patricia O'Connor is a member of AFT Local 3108, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

"During a time when the labor movement is under attack, helping union members and their children achieve their educational goals is critical," says Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides an array of Union Plus benefit for union families, including the scholarship program. "This year's scholarship recipients appreciate that their unions provide family-sustaining benefits, a voice in the workplace and a path to achieve the American Dream."

Union Plus Scholarship (http://www.unionplus.org/college-education-financing/union-plus-scholarship) awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded $3 million in educational funding to more than 2,100 union members, spouses and dependent children. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.

Credit Counseling Program

Meanwhile, AFT member Thomas Niksich from Hobart, Ind., recently took advantage of another valuable member benefit: the AFT + credit counseling program. The program helps union families get out of debt through free counseling and debt management plans with lower fees. AFT + waives the set-up fee for union members. After the first year of successful participation, 12 months of debt management fees are reimbursed to union members, which in Niksich's case was $420. "It's great to begin to see an end to debt," says Niksich, a middle-school math teacher. "This is a good union benefit that I hope other union members will check out."

More information on the credit counseling program and other programs, including discounts on AT&T wireless service, college test preparation, legal services and much more, is available on the AFT website.