Gift creates new scholarship for Unity Community Center 4-H youth

University of Illinois Extension Services

Unity Community Center on Orlando Avenue in Normal. (University of Illinois Extension photo)

Caring for the community and building a place for local youth to create their own visions created the dream for Unity Community Center in Normal. The dream continues and now creates a new scholarship opportunity for Unity Community Center 4-H Future Leaders youth.

University of Illinois Extension announces The Kathy Johnson UNITY Community Center-Post Secondary Educational Scholarship serving to award Unity youth exhibiting outstanding leadership, citizenship, and community service during their 4-H career.

The Unity Community Center was the sole brainchild of former Extension staffer Kathy Johnson. Johnson was a single mother living in the Orlando Avenue area and saw first-hand the need for youth and families in the neighborhood, to have greater community support.

She found a three-suite building on Orlando in north Normal, that had a vacancy and housed the Normal Police substation and a laundry mat. The center first opened its doors in 2003. The Unity Community Center now encompasses all three suites of its original building, taking over both the vacated laundry mat and police substation.

“Although Kathy moved on from Extension, she has always continued to stay connected to the Unity Community Center and has graciously donated funds to provide two $500 scholarships each semester to Unity youth for higher education,” said Extension County Director Bobbie Lewis-Sibley.

Unity youth must be enrolled full-time at a technical, community, vocational, or a four-year college/university at the time of submission and be of freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior status.

The scholarship is set up so that others can donate to the scholarship to allow for more than two applicants. Anyone, that has a wish to support the scholarship can send donations to the McLean County Extension Office at 1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington, IL 61704.