GLBTI charity, the Pinnacle Foundation has handed out its second round of scholarships to young GLBTI people in need.

The charity was set up in 2008 to offer scholarships and bursaries to disadvantaged GLBTI youth across Australia to help them get ahead in their study and careeers.

Pinnacle Foundation co-founder Sean Linkson praised the efforts of this year’s nine recipients.

“It is truly wonderful to see so many aspiring young GLBTIQ scholars studying in institutions across Australia and daring to be great,” Linkson said. “It’s also very satisfying to see our community financially supporting the scholarships and being their mentors.”

The nine recipients from around Australia include Neville Fields, 23, from Adelaide (Medicine, Flinders University); Michelle Slattery, 23, from Melbourne (Social Science, Swinburne University of Technology); Jake Quilligan, 20, from Melbourne (Nursing and Paramedics, Monash University); Jayke Clayden, 20, from Melbourne, (International Studies, RMIT University); Isobel Connell, 18, from Newcastle (Law, University of Newcastle); Harriet Harding, 22, from Sydney (Music Composition, Sydney Conservatorium of Music); Veronica Mason, 22, from Sydney (Arts/Law, University of New South Wales); Kat Newman, 20, from Perth (Diploma of Youth Work, Polytechnic West TAFE); and Suzie Day from Perth (Library and Information Management, Curtin University).

Average grants were $4700, which will go towards the students’ educational costs.

As well as providing financial assistance, the foundation assigns young people ‘vocational mentors’ to help them gain some insight into their chosen industry.

Although still a young organisation itself, Linkson said the foundation is growing and aims to expand the scholarship offerings next year.

“Our challenge this year is to attract more donors and mentors to our cause so we can have an even bigger award of scholarships in 2012,” Linkson said.

“Putting back into our community is what it is all about.

“We have been fortunate this year to match our scholars with a group of truly inspiring mentors, each an expert in the student’s field of study.”

Former High Court judge Michael Kirby — a foundation patron — also congratulated the scholarship winners.

“Each one of us, throughout life, must do what we can to advance the message of equal justice under law for all,” he said.

This year the foundation received more than 30 expressions of interest for scholarships, with 12 formal applications lodged and nine scholarships awarded.

More than half of the recipients experienced difficult family environments.

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