A new scholarship program gives young artists the chance to follow their passions.
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"While I’m dancing it’s just different. I feel like I want to use a word that I don’t know yet. It’s the most myself I ever feel."

A new scholarship program gives young people the chance to follow their passions.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, October 6, 2016

For Khorii Tinson, an opportunity to go to university for what she loves is the natural extension of her lifelong passion for dance.

Her dad, Karl, said Khorii knew she wanted to be a dancer before anyone else did. Even when she was very young, she was finding ways to make dance a part of everything they did.


Despite an early dance teacher kicking her out of class for doing cartwheels — and then warning her parents that dance probably wasn’t Khorii’s thing — her love of movement never faded.

Khorii performing as a kid. Image via Live Mas Scholarship/YouTube.

Dance was a constant in Khorii's life when her father had to leave the family for Army deployments overseas. Three times he left for Iraq, with one final tour in Afghanistan. When everything else was uncertain or changing, dance was always a part of Khorii's life. Through the years, she continued to pour her heart into dancing and performing.

For some dancers, the dream of going further in their studies ends after high school — and not for lack of passion. Of the more than 7,000 universities and colleges across America, only about 80 offer accredited dance programs​. Private unaccredited programs exist, but they’re often even more expensive and students who attend them might not be eligible for financial aid.

This is the reality for so many creative youth looking to follow their dreams. There aren’t enough schools with programs for what they want to do. Even if they do find a school they love and get accepted to it, there often aren’t enough scholarships to help them afford to go.

It's a big problem, and one this new scholarship program is trying to fix.

The Live Mas Scholarship is offered exclusively to talented, creative students who want to pursue higher education, but don’t fit the criteria for standard "academic" or "athletic" scholarships.

These students are artists, writers, musicians. They're filmmakers, designers, and activists. They’re powerfully talented dancers like Khorii.

GIF via Live Mas Scholarship/YouTube.

In 2016, the Live Mas scholarship fund awarded 220 scholarships to deserving recipients, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 each. They promise a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the next generation: one that’s not based on grades or sports. There are no essays, no test scores, no right or wrong answers. There's just talent and a desire to do more with it.

Khorii received a scholarship to attend the prestigious dance program at the University of Texas in Austin.

Image via Live Mas Scholarship/YouTube.

For her, it’s the culmination of a dream and a reminder of who she is.

"When I’m dancing, I know that’s where I want to be and that’s who I am. Whole. I know that things will work out in the end, and I think being optimistic has always helped me. I will find the positive in any situation."

Khorii’s mom, Mina, agrees. "I’ve always had two words for Khorii, whenever she goes to school or she’s on stage: Be brave," she said. "Fight for your dreams fight through your failures, and you’ll survive, and through that, you’ll find your happiness. You’ll find your joy."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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