Miss Murray raises funds, awards scholarships to underprivileged youthApr 03, 2022 04:59PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Miss Murray, Morgan Workman, prepares to drop the puck at a Murray High hockey game. (Photo courtesy of Miss Murray)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
After hearing that her best friend in dance class could no longer participate because her family could not afford the fees, Morgan Workman decided to do something about it. Now that she is Miss Murray, she has the opportunity to act on that decision.
“It was then I realized that I wanted to create a scholarship program one day, which is now called Gift of Movement. My and Gift of Movement’s goal, from the very beginning, have been to give youth more opportunities to do what they love, regardless of their financial situation,” Workman said.
Gift of Movement is a scholarship program for underprivileged youth who cannot afford to participate in extracurricular activities. Workman’s charity raises money through fundraising events, getting donations from local businesses and the community.
Workman’s background makes Gift of Movement a natural fit as her platform. She is a University of Utah student majoring in entrepreneurship and minoring in dance. Before winning the title of Miss Murray, she raised $1,000 through a self-defense class taught by Dan Smith, a police officer willing to donate his time.
Her first Gift of Movement scholarship winner, Gracie, loves to dance and would do it all of the time if she could. Unfortunately, due to her family’s financial situation, she could not afford the cost of dance tuition and fees. However, with the help of Gift of Movement, she was able to afford tuition and fees for several months.
“Growing up, I noticed that there was a huge need for underprivileged youth scholarships. According to activekids.com, only 27.5% of youth from low-income families in America are participating in sports. That number is so low. Gift of Movement aims to one day raise that percentage,” Workman said.
As a representative of Murray City, she now invites the community to support the Gift of Movement. Workman will be hosting a 5k fundraiser for spring scholarships. The 5k will start at Murray Park Pavilion No. 5 (by the park offices) on April 9 at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $25, with all proceeds going toward Gift of Movement scholarships.
“It is a good time to get out and get active for a great cause,” Workman said.
Her most recent scholarship winner is an immigrant from Eastern Europe who came to Utah in sixth grade. That youth was interested in joining her high school dance company but was unable to due to tuition and fees. She took the opportunity to apply for the Gift of Movement and used the scholarship to become a member of her high school dance company.
“Dancing is how she has been able to cope with the struggles of being an immigrant,” Workman said.
According to Workman, the young woman told her, “The Gift of Movement scholarship allows me to do things my situation does not give me the chance to do.”
Researchers at Flinders University in Australia found that children from low-income families who took part in extracurricular activities were more likely to report feeling a sense of belonging at school than those who did not. Their general mental health outcomes were also better.
To earn a scholarship, applicants submit a one- to two-page essay about why they want it and why they need it. Workman reviews the applicants and awards scholarships based on their needs and available funds.
In 2021, Workman told the Murray Journal, “Growing up I couldn’t afford to do what I love, which was dance. I would search long and hard for scholarships, but unfortunately, there aren’t many out there for youth. Luckily, I received scholarships throughout my dancing career to continue training.”
And now, she plans to continue the Gift of Movement scholarships even after her reign as Miss Murray ends.
Those interested in donating or applying for a scholarship can submit online to thegiftofmovement.org.