Los Angeles (July 15, 2009) -- The 18th Annual Union Plus Scholarship Awards have been announced and two Screen Actors Guild family members are among the recipients:
“Alysia and Kristin are bright young students with impressive accomplishments and they are certainly deserving of this honor,” said SAG President Alan Rosenberg. “Our gratitude goes to Union Plus for providing important educational funding to union members and their families.”
Union Plus awarded $200,000 in scholarships to 133 students representing 41 unions. More than 4,200 applications were received from students representing 49 states, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “We understand what working families are facing,” said Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides an array of benefit programs for union families, including the scholarship program. “Many of this year’s applicants made it clear that, without help from our scholarship program, they would have to put their dreams on hold or forget about college entirely.”
Meet the SAG Honorees
Many scholarship applicants write essays about themselves and their career goals. Alysia Dupuy takes a broader view of society as a whole. “We live in a time of constant struggle, when corruption and exploitation leave the majority in the dust while the top fly away in their private jets,” she wrote in her scholarship essay. “A faltering economy and the demanding pressures put on the middle class are threatening our standard of living and widening the divide between the haves and the have-nots.” Dupuy’s acute social awareness was fostered not only by the experience of growing up in a multi-union family, but also by her many hours spent volunteering with adults who have developmental disabilities. Her aspiration to study the brain and its functions merges her scientific curiosity, her personal compassion and her sense of justice. “I feel driven to give these individuals an equal opportunity to live fulfilling lives,” she said.
Kristin Barber remembers the excitement of meeting her new stepmother, a professional actress, when Kristin was nine. Wasn’t being an actress exciting and glamorous? Kristin soon learned the reality of hard work and the importance of unions. “If there were no actors’ unions,” Joan Barber told her stepdaughter, “actors would be mistreated. They would not receive health insurance, they would work in unsafe environments, and they would be forced to work extremely long hours with no breaks.” Kristin became a union member herself before deciding her own career path lay in a different form of entertainment. She will be using her acting and singing skills as a cantor when she completes her graduate degree in Jewish music and education from Hebrew College.
About Union Plus Scholarship Program
Union Privilege offers the Union Plus Scholarship awards, granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded $2.8 million in educational funding to 1,813 union members, spouses and dependent children. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. Visit www.UnionPlus.org/Scholarships for information on eligibility and to apply for next year’s scholarships.
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Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors who work in film and digital television programs, motion pictures, commercials, video games, music videos, industrials and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at www.sag.org.