2020 USF Pay it Forward Scholarship winner is Positively Fort Wayne

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – University of Saint Francis student Alexis Treesh keeps herself busy. Not only does the freshman commute to Fort Wayne three days a week for classes, but she also works three jobs in her hometown of LaGrange, and still finds time to give back.

Treesh was the 4th winner of the USF Pay it Forward Scholarship. She was awarded the full-tuition and fees scholarship worth more than $135,000 after writing an essay about how she serves others.

Treesh is studying nursing and spends much of her time taking classes in the Doermer Health Sciences Center on campus.

“I feel like God has called on me to serve others and I think that nursing is a really good opportunity to do that. I’ve helped out in the hospitals a lot and I get along really well with the patients and I love helping them through their crisis,” said Treesh. “I think God calls on us to help people in their best times and worst times and I think nursing helps me be able to do that.”

When she’s not in school, Treesh is working one of her three jobs.

“I work at a nursing home in LaGrange, and then I work at a daycare, and I’m a photographer for like sports and portraits.”

And in between all of that, the Prairie Heights High School graduate still finds time to pay it forward. She lends herself to two different organizations.

Alexis Treesh lends her time to the Sole Hope Foundation which makes
shoes for people in Uganda

“Sole Hope, which helps people in Uganda get shoes for their feet and medical attention for the jiggers parasite which terrorizes their lives,” she said. “I helped with creating the shoes, cutting out the patterns for them.”

She also helps out at the Therapeutic Riding Center of Steuben County.

“They help out people with different mental and physical disabilities and it gives them some time to be with other people and experience riding horses and having fun doing that.”

Treesh wrote about her work with both organizations in her Pay it Forward application essay. She says they “called her name,” and she’s currently in the process of planning a Sole Hope event.

Treesh says the scholarship she was awarded will allow her to continue her servant work well into the future.

“Because of this scholarship I now have the opportunity to save up money for other things, and Sole Hope has a mission trip that they do where they actually go and put the shoes on the people’s feet and actually take the jiggers out. So I hope that once I graduate, I’ve saved up enough money to  go on this mission trip and I can actually be a part of the medical experience that happens there. I’d love to see the very beginning of the process to the very end.”

One of the shoes made by the Sole Hope Foundation

It would be a full circle moment for Treesh who believes God has given her, and everyone, a gift to help others.

“I think without helping others we’re not, like, throwing our gift away, but we’re not using it in the way He anticipated us to use it,” she said.

The University of Saint Francis and WANE 15 are partnering once again this year for the Pay it Forward Scholarship. The scholarship is available to incoming students who exhibit a commitment to service and helping others. 

One student will be awarded a full-tuition scholarship (tuition and fees) and two students will be awarded half-tuition scholarships (tuition and fees) for the 2022-23 academic year. The Pay It Forward Scholarships are renewable up to four years.

To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be first-time students seeking their first undergraduate degree at USF, and must write a compelling essay explaining how they’ve helped someone else in life.

Alexis Treesh has some words of advice:

“Go for it, even if you don’t think you’ve done something extravagant. Helping somebody is extravagant all in its own. And just being able to fill out that application, you might surprise yourself or feel better about something that you’ve done for others in the process.”

The deadline to apply for the Pay it Forward Scholarship is November 1. A winner will be announced in December.

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