A local youth is making a difference and learning about grassroots community building this summer after taking home two prestigious national awards.
Vidur Beharry, a recent graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School and a Williamsbridge resident, is learning about leadership as a Bank of America Student Leaders® scholar.
He also was recently selected as a 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, a program run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which Beharry said will include college scholarship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate study.
The hard working 18-year-old is currently an intern for the summer at Citizens Committee For New York City, an organization that provides microloans for grassroots based organizations to rebuild communities.
He obtained that position through BOA Student Leaders.
“I chose citizens committee because I wanted something different,” the award-winning scholar said, adding that he wanted to learn more about the non-profit sector.
Just five New Yorkers were selected for BOA’s program, and Beharry is the only Bronxite, he said.
About 2,000 young people from around the city applied, he added.
“I was surprised when I was chosen,” said Beharry. “I was in shock and then relieved that I had something to do this the summer.”
As part of the BOA program, Beharry said that he recently went on a trip to Washington D.C. at the start of the summer, where he attended leadership workshops and went on a tour of various national monuments.
Some of the overarching themes of what Beharry said he learned about during his experience with the Student Leaders program in Washington were financial literacy and the interconnection of various sectors.
“I think that (the student leaders program) is a great program,” he said. “Students should apply because it is a great opportunity to learn about how businesses, government and non-profits have similarities and work together.”
Beharry attended P.S. 16 and M.S. 113, and that he grew up near East Gun Hill Road and has two older sisters.
He hopes to focus on learning more about the sciences, especially astrophysics, and wants to obtain a doctorate, but has not yet decided in specifically which discipline.
“Science was limited in my high school,” he said. There was never an oceanography class or an astronomy class, and I want to learn more about them.”
And he should have ample opportunity.
With a full-scholarship for both undergraduate and graduate study from the Gates Foundation, Deharry should be able to study the sciences to his heart’s content without being concerned about college costs.
“When I received the Gates Scholarship, I was in awe,” he said, adding “I don’t think it is going to hit me until I am going off to graduate school and my peers have to pay for graduate school and I don’t.”