Coastie Kids to College Grads

Recipients of Coast Guard Foundation scholarships pose during a foundation dinner. In all of 2015, the Coast Guard Foundation awarded 86 scholarships worth $400,000. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Recipients of Coast Guard Foundation scholarships pose during a foundation dinner. In all of 2015, the Coast Guard Foundation awarded 86 scholarships worth $400,000. U.S. Coast Guard photo

For the first 18 years of her life Kaitlin Long moved with her family seven times as they followed her father, John Long, a 30-year-veteran who retired as a Coast Guard master chief.

For Coast Guard families, moving around can be strenuous, especially for school-age children. Moving every four years or less can stress the family and the budget, but with the help of the Coast Guard Foundation, some families can receive financial help.

“Sometimes it was really tough,” said Kaitlin. “You leave your friends all the time, and you’re always going to new schools, trying to figure things out. At the same time you gain a lot of life experience, and being older and reflecting on it, I think it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. You meet and learn to work with so many different types of people that it helps you learn to adapt to situations quickly.”

Often times, transitioning from military dependent to young adult is marked by going to college, an experience that often adds financial worry.

There are many options for continued education and the prices can vary quite a bit. Kaitlin’s sister, who is five years older, went to community college and received a scholarship to help pay for tuition without having to take out any loans. When it was Kaitlin’s turn, her desire to go to a four-year university, meant her parents considered applying for loans.

“We had saved some money for college,” said Barbara Long, Kaitlin’s mother. “With the rising cost of college, it wasn’t enough to cover her tuition and other college expenses.”

Barbara then did what a lot of parents do – she looked into different options. She stumbled across the Coast Guard Foundation Scholarship.

Kaitlin Long poses with a sign from the Coast Guard Foundation which begins I can be… and she completed with “an advertising guru,” while standing outside the offices of the Denver Post. Long was a recipient of a Coast Guard Foundation scholarship. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Kaitlin Long poses with a sign from the Coast Guard Foundation which begins I can be… and she completed with “an advertising guru,” while standing outside the offices of the Denver Post. Long was a recipient of a Coast Guard Foundation scholarship. U.S. Coast Guard photo

The scholarship Kaitlin received through the foundation was sponsored by Cmdr. Daniel J. Christovich and is worth $5,000 a year for four years.

Kaitlin is one of several young standouts who lived in the Mid-Atlantic region and were awarded with scholarships in recent years, said Jennifer Fyke, the director of communications for the Coast Guard Foundation.

“We have so many amazing Coast Guard kids from the Fifth District,” said Fyke. “There’s brothers Joey and Matt Heimberger, who were each awarded a four-year scholarship, Melissa Hooper studying in Ireland this semester, Katherine Berry, whose father is an active duty member stationed in Cape May and Adriana Nelson, who is one of our Fallen Heroes Scholarship recipients.”

In all of 2015, the Coast Guard Foundation awarded 86 scholarships worth $400,000.

Open to children of active duty and Coast Guard veterans, the Coast Guard Foundation looks for highly motivated students to award.

“We are very grateful for the Coast Guard Foundation and the Christovich family,” said Barbara. “What makes us most proud is the fact that Kaitlin received this scholarship on her own merit. The scholarship Kaitlin received was academically based.”

With several scholarship and grant opportunities out there, both through the Coast Guard Foundation and outside of it, Kaitlin has some advice.

“Don’t let anything hinder you,” said Kaitlin. “Anything is possible, you just have to work hard and put your mind to it. Apply for as many scholarships as possible.”

The Coast Guard has a reputation of being there for when others are in need. With the work of the Coast Guard Foundation, anyone can donate to help Coast Guard members and their families.

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