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Miss Provo service project aims to provide scholarships to Utah County immigrant students

By Curtis Booker - | Apr 18, 2024
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In this undated photo, Miss Provo 2023 Molli Eaton speaks about the importance of sharing educational resources with recently admitted immigrants to the U.S.
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The organization logo for Molli Eaton (Miss Provo 2023) service initiative, Integracion por Educacion.
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Miss Provo 2023 Molli Eaton poses with a representative of Se Llama Peru during Provo City's first all-Spanish town hall on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.

Learning to speak a new language can seem daunting at first. But for Molli Eaton, the commitment to learn Spanish beginning in junior high proved to be a big advantage in her adult life.

Eaton was crowned Miss Provo 2023 last September. Prior to that, she served a mission in New Jersey for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

During her mission, she had the opportunity to help a man from the Dominican Republic prepare for a citizenship test.

“We just spent long hours helping him study and quizzing him and then he passed the next week,” Eaton said. “He sent us a picture next to the flag and with his citizenship certification. It was so adorable, and I knew that this was something that I could do back home.”

It was an experience Eaton says fueled her passion for service and helping people of all backgrounds to fulfill their goals in Utah.

She’s currently effecting a project to raise $3,000 for scholastic aid. “This scholarship is based off of people who have donated in the community to help first-generation or immigrant scholars that have come here and have their student visas that are trying to get an education,” Eaton told the Daily Herald.

She says her goal is to award three $1,000 scholarships to immigrants in the Provo area by the fall semester.

Through Eaton’s community service initiative as Miss Provo 2023 called “Integración por Educación,” or “Integration by Education,” she often recognizes programs and resources for Spanish-speaking immigrants in the county. That segued into her new campaign, the Tassel Scholarship.

“It’s called the Tassel Scholarship because the goal is graduation, it’s getting a tassel. And there are so many benefits of education for people, from improving the economy, to amplifying your personal skill set, to increased career opportunities. And that’s what I’m trying to encourage with this community-based scholarship,” Eaton said.

A 2023 report by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education found students from immigrant families make up almost a third of students enrolled at American colleges and universities.

Out of the nearly 300,000 students in higher education across Utah, just under 60,000 are immigrant and international students.

People wanting to get involved with Eaton’s efforts to raise awareness and funds are encouraged to share the initiative on their own social media platforms, engage in fundraising events or make a donation.

“We’ve created a Venmo account called Integration by Education. And there’s also our Instagram account where you can keep following along with the progress of it,” she explained.

Eaton says she also plans to hold a community musical fundraiser sometime in August and award the three scholarship winners by September.

Aside from her scholarship initiative, Eaton continuously collaborates with Provo’s Channel 17 to produce a series of translation videos for Spanish-speaking residents.

She is organizing a college workshop event with My Hometown Provo to be held in May and another one in September for anyone interested in learning about their local scholastic resources.

Additionally, she’s working with Nomen Global in Orem to develop and online grammar curriculum for people learning to speak English.

Eaton has aspirations of becoming Miss Utah. Meanwhile, she attends BYU and works as a teacher.

She hopes to inspires others to serve their communities and not be afraid to put themselves out there.

“There’s no shortage of opportunities to help out in. And that’s what I love about the Miss America organization is that it really pushes service, which for me is my favorite aspect of the organization,” Eaton said.


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