UMPS CARE Charities, the official philanthropy of the Major League Baseball umpires, today announced the 2021 recipient of the All-Star College Scholarship – Keniya Beckwith. Adopted at the age of 14 after living with numerous foster families, Keniya plans to major in psychology and women’s and gender studies at North Carolina State University.
Through this scholarship, Keniya will receive $10,000 per year to defray the costs of her college education in addition to being connected with MLB Umpires and their family members who will serve as her mentors throughout her college journey. Many families who adopt children later in life do not have the time to save for college, so the umpires wanted to make a truly life-changing difference in the lives of these young people.
To date, UMPS CARE Charities has distributed more than $282,500 to children adopted later in life through the All-Star College Scholarship Program.
Keniya was born in Washington, D.C., and entered the foster care system at the age of 2. She was adopted at 14 and moved with her adoptive mother to North Carolina. Keniya, who will turn 18 in September, lists creative writing, activism and cooking among her passions.
Deloitte has stepped up to the plate by sponsoring this program and naming Keniya its first-ever Deloitte Scholar. Deloitte professionals have joined the All-Star College Scholarship Program Selection Committee to assist in identifying the recipient of the 2021 award. In addition, Deloitte will further invest in the program by encouraging professionals to serve as mentors and to help guide the student through their college years.
“This program is truly life changing,” said UMPS CARE President and Retired MLB Umpire Gary Darling. “It helps these kids, who have been through more than most kids their age – or people of any age for that matter – go to the college of their choice and not have the financial burden. I wish we had $100,000 to give out every year. I think the hardest part for us is selecting the one winner each year because we would love to be able to impact the lives of more young people.”
“I don’t think rewarding is a strong enough word for what this program is all about,” Darling added. “I think this is one of the best things we do at UMPS CARE.”
“This (scholarship) means a lot to me.,” Keniya told us. “I’m so thankful. I’ve had a lot of struggles in my life, obviously, but I really do think I have the potential to have a bright future and you are helping me attain that, and that means the world to me. I’m so grateful that you guys chose to invest in me. I’m so blessed. This scholarship means the world to me, and I am beyond grateful. I hope I make you proud.”
Part of what makes the All-Star College Scholarship program unique is that the umpires do more than hand out checks. They stand by the side of the student throughout their college journey by mentoring them. Umpires will have lunch on campus with the winners, call them periodically to check on them and send care packages before exams.
We are proud to welcome Keniya to our UMPS CARE family – please take a moment to watch the VIDEO below to meet her!