Since 1969, the Christian Opportunity Center (COC) has been proving what’s possible for individuals with disabilities in Central Iowa.  In celebration of COC’s 50th Anniversary this year, COC is pleased to announce the inaugural year of a new scholarship opportunity for local high school seniors.  The new award will be named the Sarah M. Braun “Proving What’s Possible” Memorial Scholarship.   For the past 12 years, COC has offered the Sarah M. Braun Memorial Scholarship which is awarded to high school seniors who are planning on a career in human services or special education, this scholarship will continue to be offered in the COC service area.

The new Sarah M. Braun “Proving What’s Possible” Memorial scholarship will also go to a local high school senior; however, this scholarship will focus on a senior who has a learning disability (LD) or an intellectual disability (ID).  Many colleges and universities are offering specialized programs for individuals with LD and ID to have a successful postsecondary education and more students with disabilities are choosing to continue their education.

Amy Zuck, the Public Information Director for COC, said, “I have learned from working at COC to never underestimate what an individual with a disability can do.  If we put low expectations on individuals with disabilities, it only hinders the talents and gifts that they can offer to our communities.”

A qualified applicant will be a local graduating senior who lives in Marion, Warren, or Mahaska Counties.  The applicant must be a graduating high school senior who will be attending a two-year community college, a vocational/technical training program, or a specialized program in the fall, and must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). 

Sarah Maria Braun was the first-born child born to former COC Executive Director Rod and current COC employee Robin Braun.  Sarah lived in Pella for the majority of her life and graduated from Pella High School in 1999.  While attending college at Wartburg Sarah worked part-time at COC.  Sarah later attended UNI to finish out her degree in social work.  Sarah passed away suddenly in 2002 at the age of 21. 

For more information on these scholarships and the eligibility requirements or to receive an application, please contact Amy Zuck, Public Information Director, at (641) 628-8087 Ext. 1105 or

Providing 50 years of services, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to nearly 260 people with disabilities in Mahaska, Marion, Polk, Warren, and Keokuk counties. For more information visit or connect with the Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook and IowaCOC on Twitter.