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VIP Focus: Students Clean Up With Scholarships From Michigan-Based Custodial Company

DashBoard, Oct. 21, 2015

GRBSDuring the 2015 graduation season, Grand Rapids Building Services chose to recognize students who have overcome significant personal struggles by donating $40,000 toward their future education.

"We felt it was important to support each community we service, and our scholarship program emerged as a way to align our company's core value of perseverance with students who have demonstrated perseverance in their youth," shared Karin Wysocki, owner of GRBS, a Michigan-based custodial cleaning company celebrating 100 years of service this year.

Past winners include students who have overcome homelessness, varying abuse, terrible accidents, life-altering health situations and the loss of one or both parents.

"These situations are incredibly overwhelming for anyone to face, but at such a young age, they break your heart,” said Wysocki. “Our scholarship committee reads submissions with a giant box of Kleenex in the middle of the table and sometimes, we cannot pick only one entry in a district. This year we had multiple scholarships awarded in Cedar Springs Public Schools, East Detroit Public Schools, Plainwell Community Schools, Plymouth Canton Community Schools and Portage Public Schools. Lincoln Consolidated Schools in Ypsilanti had three scholarships alone because the essays were so different yet so powerful."

This year's Perseverance Scholarship of the Year was awarded to Christine Wall from Plymouth Canton Community Schools. Wysocki explains, "That was my favorite moment this graduation season. I was so choked up as I read her story that I barely got through the award. She is such a sweet and quiet girl, but her words were so powerful describing her battle against cancer and the friends she lost along the way. She is an inspiration for all of us, and reminds us to count our blessings. That's really why we keep this up every year, to remember what is important through those who are wise beyond their years and willing to share their journey."

Wysocki continued, "Once we started to ask for the essays, we were flooded with the most amazing stories of incredible journeys. We share these stories with our team members at GRBS with the permission of the students, and we have been so moved and proud to sponsor them that we now share their stories with the community in publications and on our website. You cannot help but feel inspired when you read them."

With this perennial scholarship, GRBS has distributed more than $210,000 in total. Right now, it is targeted at students in the districts who contract GRBS as their custodial provider, but in 2016, the company will begin a program awarding five students at large, widening the scope of participation.

"Of course, we are partial to our customers and want to express our gratitude for their business in a positive and meaningful way, but if there are students outside our scope that we can lift up and recognize for their efforts, we want to share the opportunity," says Wysocki.

The incredible and heartfelt stories of these young students, including this year's winner can be found on company's website: www.grbsinc.com.

Students wishing to apply for the GRBS Perseverance Scholarship may do so through their counseling office in the districts serviced by GRBS, or with Heather East at GRBS at 800.441.4463. Annual scholarships are distributed in May.


VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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