Christian Opportunity Center (COC) has selected Indianola High School’s Emily Sutherland as the 2016 Sarah M. Braun Memorial Scholarship recipient.
Named in honor of the late daughter of COC Executive Director Rod Braun and his wife Robin and made possible by the COC Foundation Fund, the $1,000 scholarship is presented to a high school senior pursuing an academic focus in human services.
An Ackworth native and member of Farmers Chapel United Methodist Church, Sutherland plans to major in elementary education at Central College beginning in the fall of 2016.
Criteria for the scholarship include academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and personal character and personality. Applications for the scholarship are accepted from all COC service areas.
Daughter of Rodney and Doreen, Sutherland holds a 3.879 cumulative GPA and has received Green Hand, Chapter, and Iowa Degrees from Future Farmers of America and is a member of the National Honor Society, organizations devoted to leadership and service.
A part-time employee at Hy-Vee, Sutherland has led Sunday School and volunteered at the Good Samaritan Center throughout her high school career. She has also contributed to Indianola High School’s Toys for Tots program, packaged meals for Warren County residents, provided food and supplies for Helping Hand, and gathered supplies for the people of Nigeria.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Dallas, Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. For more information, visit www.christianopportunity.org.
Christian Opportunity Center living skills advisor Willa Branderhorst reflected on her 35 years with the organization…in her own words.
Before working at the Christian Opportunity Center, we fostered a girl for four years who worked in COC’s Pella workshop. She then moved into COC’s new cottage that housed 15 adults and I was hired shortly after. I worked in that cottage until it closed and then transitioned to one of the four-person homes that COC purchased.
I still work there to this day.
It is very rewarding to help people reach their God-given potential.
For my 35 years of service, I received an iPad and a wireless keyboard as a gift from COC. It arrived just two days before my daughter and family from Missouri visited for Tulip Time, so they were able to help me set it up and teach me how to use it.
I’m enjoying it very much and I feel very appreciated.