Pay-it-Forward Scholarship Finalist Audrie Bowman

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – The University of Saint Francis at Fort Wayne is again awarding a Pay-it-Forward Scholarship to a prospective freshman to recognize his work that goes well beyond serving others.

WANE 15 partners with USF to present the three finalists for the 2023-2024 scholarship.

Audrie Bowman is a senior at Huntington North High School in Huntington, Indiana. Sharing is part of her life and has been for many years.

Audrie and her father, who died in a car accident

Audrie and her father were in a car accident when she was 10 years old. She survived, he didn’t. Pain and grief followed, but it wasn’t long before Audrie learned to turn her grief into giving with the help of family and friends.

“I feel like my life has been a steady progression, using the skills, lessons and advice I’ve learned through this process to pass that on.”

One important way she gives back is through a club at her school that she co-founded called Deeased Parents Support. It is a safe place for students who have lost their parents to gather and find each other’s support.

“I can pass it on to so many kids who have experiences that I’ve been through that I don’t want anyone else to do,” Audrie said.

The group has even expanded into elementary schools to help young students deal with their pain and grief in a healthy way.

Audrie Bowman at Riley Children’s Hospital

Audrie has also helped raise more than $30,000 for Riley Children’s Hospital, where she spent time as a child. In seventh grade she was diagnosed with a bone tumor called Osteoid Osteoma in her leg. After the operation, she was cured of the constant pain she had been living with for months.

Because of the care she received from Riley, she now pays it on through her school’s Riley Dance Marathon, an annual fundraiser that raises money for Children’s Hospital. She was involved in the dance marathon all 4 years of high school and is the club’s president this year.

“I think helping people is a big part of everyone’s life. To use the things you’ve learned and be able to help other people through this, especially with the Riley Dance Marathon, I’m able to help so many amazing kids who are going through so much treatment they may not be able to pay.” she said.

Audrie and her team facilitate various fundraisers to support their cause, including Miracle Minutes, where they walk up and down grandstands at sporting events to collect loose change, and Nelson’s Chicken and Rise ‘n Roll fundraisers.

“[The Riley Dance Marathon] coming up in March – our goal is $10,000 to help every child at Riley Children’s Hospital and raise as much money as we can,” said Audrie.

A past Riley Dance Marathon at HNHS that raised $15,000

Audrie is also part of the Student Council, Freshman Mentoring, President of her 4H Club, Junior Leaders, the National Honor Society and more.

She credits the people in her life, including her father, with shaping her into the person she is today – a person who is always looking for ways to help and serve others.

“The more people devote themselves to this in life and the more people help others, the more we will be happy and be one great unit and a happy world.”

If you would like to support the Riley Dance Marathon at HNHS, click HERE.

WANE 15 and the University of Saint Francis will nominate the winner of the 6th Pay it Forward Scholarship for the week of December 5th. Pay-it-Forward Scholarship Finalist Audrie Bowman

Dais Johnston

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