ADSF Scholarship Winner #2

Thanks to Naomi’s hard work in organizing a fundraiser and our generous donors, we were able to offer two scholarships this year. We can’t tell you how thankful we are to those of you who offered us words of encouragement and donations for the fund. There is one lady in particular on my mind who I would like to mention. Naomi threw a hog roast fundraiser earlier this year and one of the first attendees wrote a $1,000 check for the fund. She grew up Amish as well and wished to help others who leave. I hope she reads this and knows how grateful we are.

picture of meI’d like to introduce our second winner of the ADSF scholarship. Her name is Ruth and she left the Amish many years ago in order to continue her education, but with no financial support, she found herself working full time and studying part time. During this time she met her wonderful husband and her duties as a wife and a mother took took priority for a while.

Finally, 14 years later she is close to finishing her goal. She wishes to use her education to help people and she’s studying Social Work and plans to work with teenagers. If she can scrape together the money to pay for her final classes, Ruth will be graduating in May, 2013. We wish her all the best as she finishes her educational journey and embarks on her career!

A dream is never too old to come true as Ruth has proven with her dedication to finish her degree despite life’s many challenges.

Once again, a special thanks to all our donors who are helping these students in need. Every donation helps us reach out to those who never dreamt a college education was possible. Please continue to spread the word and see to donate for our next year’s winners.

Posted in Scholarship Winners

ADSF scholarship winner #1

We started working on this fund a long time ago and it feels amazing to finally reach our end goal and award the scholarship money to someone who is working hard to overcome the challenges of studying without parental support. If you come from an Amish background and wish to go to college, please get in touch with us. We are here to offer encouragement,  answer questions and to give you the chance to win the scholarship next year.

IMG_0757We will tell you a little bit about our scholarship winners so our donors know where their money has gone. Our first scholarship of $1000 goes to Marietta in Florida who is finally pursuing her dream of going to college. She is just starting out and we are happy to be able to offer her a little bit of financial support.

Marietta had no opportunity to go to high school or college growing up; in fact, she was teaching in a one room schoolhouse herself at the young age of 18. She remained a teacher for 11 years before she felt the need to find a personal relationship with God outside of religious traditions. She strongly feels that God has led her to start her journey in studying Business Management and she is excited to be working on her prerequisites. Thank you to all of you who have helped Marietta by donating to ADSF.

Please join us in congratulating Marietta in following her dreams to go to college. We hope her education is blessed with fulfilling achievements and knowledge.

Posted in Scholarship Winners

Accepting Applications for 2012 Scholarship

We are now accepting applications. There are two scholarships available worth $1000 each for the 2012 fall semester. The deadline to have your application in is Sept. 9th, 2012.

In order to qualify for the scholarship you will have grown up Amish and your family is still Amish. You must have your GED or high school diploma before you can apply and be able to provide proof of enrollment/acceptance into a community college or a university.

Please click here for the application and full details.

Posted in Latest News

Fundraiser in Nappanee, Indiana – join the fun!

ADSF Fundraiser: Hog Roast and Community Social

Friday, August 3rd
Food will be served from 5-8pm

United Christian School
29522 County Road 52
Nappanee, IN 46550

Naomi is organising our first fundraiser in Nappanee, Indiana. There will be a whole hog roast and delicious side dishes and desserts prepared by friends and family from the community. The event will be donation-based and all the proceeds will be awarded as a scholarship to a student that grew up Amish.

Please be there to support our efforts and help spread the word to the community. We are looking for gifts to be donated for a raffle ticket give-away. If you would like to donate an item or can help us locate local businesses that are willing to donate, please email Naomi at You can also help out by donating a side dish or dessert for the event. Any help is greatly appreciated!
For those of you waiting to apply for the scholarship – we will start accepting applications on August 4th. By then we’ll be able to give you a solid estimate of how much the scholarship will be. The application period will end on September 4th and we should have the results announced later in the month. We will send out instructions on how to apply in the next week or so.
If you can’t make it to the fundraiser but wish to donate to the fund, you can now donate online here. Thank you to all of you who have already donated, we really appreciate your support!
Posted in Latest News

Is FAFSA broken for Amish youth?

As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, it’s hard for former Amish youth under the age of 24 to get Financial Aid. That’s because in order to fill out a FAFSA, students also have to fill in their parents’ information because parents are deemed responsible to help their children pay for education until they are 24 (or get married and have children). I came across this article about the same topic. They even mention the Amish situation, see quoted below.

“If you are Amish and have been shunned or banished because of your desire to seek an education and as a result no longer have any contact with your family, provide a signed statement to this effect to the financial aid administrator. Some financial aid administrators will do a dependency status override in this case.”

The thing that frustrates me about that statement is that the student must “no longer have any contact” with their family. Even though I left the Amish community when I was 16, I have always stayed in contact with my family and I’m certain I always will. However, my parents did not help me by filling out the FAFSA because they didn’t agree with my choice to continue studying.

I understand completely why this law is in effect; it’s only fair that parents who have significant income should help pay for their children’s education. Those who don’t have a high income can fill out the FAFSA form and not jeopardize their children’s chance of getting financial aid, because it’s based in income levels. However, the system seems to fail for Amish youth who are striving for an education. It’s just another obstacle withholding support from those who need it most. If anyone has further information on how they can override this law without completely losing contact with their families, please let us know.

Posted in Latest News

Online Donations

We’ve been having trouble accepting donations through an online payment system because we aren’t our own non-profit organization and don’t have an EIN number for the application. Fortunately, the Mennonite Church has an online giving site and they graciously offered to accept online payments for us and then transfer the payments over to our account with Everence. They will only be charging enough to cover the credit card fee, so they’re helping us out a lot.

So we’re happy to announce that we can now accept your donations online. I donated yesterday to try it out and it worked perfectly. It’s perfect timing as we need to raise the funds to give our first scholarship this fall. We’ll be accepting applications soon and we’re hoping to have an idea of how much the scholarship will be before we release the application details.

Thank you very much for your donation and for your help in spreading the word. It’s graduation season and that sense of achievement is in the air. That feeling should be accessible to everyone who wants it, not just those who can afford it. I’m so grateful for those people who encouraged me along the way and I hope together we can offer the same support to others who need it.  

Posted in Latest News

Little by Little

I better update this blog to let you all know that we’re still here! Thanks to all of you who have contacted us through the form on the website. Your excitement and encouragement means so much to us. We’ve really enjoyed hearing from potential applicants who could benefit from this scholarship, it’s nice to find other former Amish who are seeking a higher education.

We are currently working to get an online payment system in place so it’s easier to make donations. After that’s finished we will focus on raising the money for the first scholarship. We have received some donations already and we’re very grateful for the generosity of our donors.

If you’re interested in helping with the fundraising, please let us know. We could also use some help contacting local education journalists who might be interested in writing an article about ADSFund. We have had some interest and done a few interviews and we’ll let you know when anything gets published. Little by little…we’re getting there!!

Posted in Latest News

Guest blog post at Amish America

Erik at was kind enough to let me do a guest post on his very popular blog. You can read the post and some very lovely comments through the link below.

Posted in ADSFund in the News

The Record » features » From Amish baker to Goshen graduate

An article done on Naomi Kramer, one of the founders of ADSFund.

The Record » features » From Amish baker to Goshen graduate

From Amish baker to Goshen graduate

Author: Matthew Amstutz • Jan 19th, 2012 • Category: features

Only eight years ago, Naomi Kramer was living in an Amish community located in Jamesport, Mo., where she worked in a bakery and did chores at home without the aid of electricity. Today, she drives a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse and spends more time in science labs than cleaning her house. Kramer is 26 years old and set to graduate next year with a nursing degree from Goshen College.

Kramer described her old Amish life as “peaceful” and “slow-paced.” She washed clothes with a gasoline-powered ringer washing machine and, in the absence of television, spent her free time reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. “Our parents were always very careful in screening what we read,” she said.

At 19, Kramer began to have doubts about whether a simple, Amish life was for her. “Everyone else was getting married and thinking about having a family, but I didn’t think I wanted that right away,” she said. “I wanted to travel and see what’s out there.”

A deeper reason for Kramer’s departure, however, was her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. “My siblings and friends always liked playing doctor and nurse growing up,” she said, laughing. More seriously, Kramer said that she was often tasked with taking care of her four siblings. “Because my mom was always busy, I helped raise my younger siblings, and I always had a motherly desire to take care of them,” she said. Eventually, Kramer’s dream of becoming a nurse meant leaving her old life behind.

So she set out from Missouri to Florida on her own to study nursing at Manatee Community College—now State College of Florida. While living there, Kramer underwent what she described as a kind of culture shock.

“When I arrived in Florida,” Kramer said, “I had no idea how different my culture was.” Hardest of all was being on her own for the first time. “In Amish culture, we have a very high sense of belonging,” she said. “You are a community. If something happens, people are always there to protect you or help you.”

Initially, Kramer wore Amish dress and didn’t use all available forms of technology, but without her family she quickly stopped these practices.

“At first I would have to explain to people that I was Amish and needed help doing basic things like writing emails,” she said. “They’d always look at me like I was from another planet, and no one seemed to know who the Amish were.”

Kramer also said that the different pace of life took some getting used to. “Everything is much more fast-paced, and you have a lot of pressure in how you dress,” she said. “I tell people that if I ever go back, it’s for a slower pace of life.”

In 2008, three years after moving to Florida, Kramer decided it was time for a change. “I figured if I transferred to a Mennonite college or moved back into my community, I might feel a little more comfortable,” she said.

Kramer found Goshen College by doing an Internet search for colleges in the Goshen or Nappanee area. “I think Goshen College came up immediately, and I began applying shortly after that,” she said.

Kramer said that Goshen College has been much more accepting and understanding of her background than the State College of Florida was. “Because this is a Mennonite community, people here tend to at least have an idea as to where I’m coming from,”she said.

Kramer is only able to go back home “about two or three times a year.” It’s during these visits when she is able to see her childhood friends, who she said, “are all Amish, married, and have a row of kids.” In contrast, Kramer lives on her own and says she’ll have plenty of time for marriage later in life.

Though Kramer is happy with this new life, she was quick to say that she missed her Amish home. “I don’t think I could go back, but I really do miss it,” she said, pausing for a moment and adding, “a lot.” She said, reluctantly, that the biggest factor keeping her from home was the prospect of giving up some of the luxuries of a non-Amish lifestyle. “Giving up my car, my cell phone, all of that would be really hard,” she said. “I honestly can’t think of a reason for not going home bigger than that.”

When Kramer does visit for Amish weddings and other celebrations, she often gets “a lonely feeling,” since she knows it will never be the same again. She is set to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse—a dream that has come at a price larger than even her tuition bill. Kramer said everyone in Amish communities must eventually decide whether they will stay home or make a life elsewhere. “It’s a really hard choice,” she said.

By Nathan Vader
Contributing Writer

Posted in ADSFund in the News

Ready to Fundraise!

Ok, everyone! Today is a big day for us because we’re finally ready to accept donations. Any size donation is appreciated and will go a long way to help fund someone’s education. Please help us spread the word, as well.

Checks should be made out to: The Mennonite Foundation
In the Memo section write our name: ADSFund

Please don’t make the checks out to ADSFund, but don’t forget to write our name on the check or they won’t know where to apply it to.

Your donations can be mailed to:
c\o Mennonite Foundation
1110 North Main St, PO Box 607
Goshen, IN 46527-0607

Remember to include your return address so The Mennonite Foundation can send you your receipt. Thank you very much for your contribution. It is the only way we can make this dream a reality.

We plan on giving our first scholarship in time for the fall 2012 semester. For those of you who are interested in applying for the scholarship, we will have information on when and how to do that later this summer. In the meantime, if you’re interested – please let us know. You can send us a note through our website here or email me at We would love to have an idea of how many people would qualify for the scholarship.

Have a wonderful day!

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Posted in Latest News