Bianca Deslouches ’11 understands the impact that the kindness of strangers can have on a person. After graduating from UCF — where she received scholarships on the way to her finance degree — she vowed to pay it forward one day.
“I had times where I’d look at my account and say, what is this money that has just appeared? Who blessed me?” says Deslouches, who received scholarships while attending UCF. “Knowing what $1,000 means to a student — it’s a different world.”
Like many of her friends who are starting to blossom in their careers, she has started to put more thought into her financial future. So one day she posed a question in a group chat with her core group of college friends: Do any of you give in any capacity? What do you think about doing something together?
“The idea that we have a responsibility to give back what we’ve been given is a pretty fundamental belief of the whole group,” Deslouches says. “It’s a huge piece of what keeps our friend group together, and I think we’re all in the phases of our careers where we are starting to get a bit more of disposable income to make the kind of impact we want to have on the world.”
“I think we’re all in the phases of our careers where we are starting to get a bit more of disposable income to make the kind of impact we want to have on the world.”— Bianca Deslouches ’11
Deslouches, along with Neola Occenad ’11, Kersten Busche ’11, Elisabeth Brown ’11 ’16MPA and Katrina Cesaire ’10 ’14MBA, all made their first gifts to UCF in a big way: They created the Kayak Friends and Family Fund with the intent of helping advance historically underrepresented communities. The $1,000 scholarship annually will be awarded to students who are in the John T. Washington Honor Society or Black Student Union.
“We were all excited and loved the idea that we could potentially be impacting students of color, especially given challenges we individually faced in navigating our own academic and career journeys,” Deslouches says. “We want the money to get into the hands of people who tend to have access to less financial opportunities. We don’t want that to stand in the way of living out the full potential of what was the greatest four years of a learning experience for so many of us.”
Once the scholarship was formalized in the spring, Deslouches’ shared the news on social media, and it happened to catch the eye of Sean Bryant ’12 (pictured).
Bryant knew Deslouches while attending UCF and shared a similar desire to give back in some way. Her Instagram post instigated him to follow through on something he had long been considering and discussing with his friends from his days in as initiates of the Xi Iota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
He wasn’t surprised at all when Dedrix Daka ’08, Evan Easterling ’12, Ronnie Weaver ’11 and Michael Pazmino, who earned his associate’s degree in 2009, immediately said they were game for creating a scholarship.
The group knew they wanted their first gifts to impact the activity and engagement they were all bonded by at UCF.
“The National Pan-Hellenic Council is relatively small compared to the other councils but there is some really great work being done by those members,” Bryant says. “To both reward and encourage the work that those groups are doing is important.”
The Sons of T3 Scholarship will award a $1,000 scholarship annually to students in one of the nine NPHC fraternities or sororities on UCF’s campus.
“We wanted it be something awarded to people like us — people who are striving and doing things, but realistically we know there is a gap between what you can afford and what you need,” Pazmino says. “I would like this scholarship to help bridge that gap.”
The scholarships will start to be distributed in Spring 2022.
This article also appears in IMPACT: The Magazine of the UCF Foundation (Read more here.)