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Brenna Dilley Receives Weidner Altruism Scholarship

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Brenna Rose Dilley, a Junior Social Work Major at Indiana University/Purdue University (IUPUI) has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Rotaract Altruism Scholarship in Honor of John Henry Weidner.

Highly active in a variety of campus volunteer organizations, Dilley is the founder of CHANGE SELLF, a human rights organization which, she says “aims to educate students and community members about human rights violations domestically and internationally.  The name of my organization is an acronym that encompasses the purpose of the organization.  I hope to inspire SELLF: Security, Equality, Law, Life and Freedom.  I also hope to promote CHANGE:  Culture, Humanity, Acceptance, Nonviolence, Goodness and Empathy.”

Dilley plans to eventually complete a law degree with a focus on international human rights.  “I will be influential in the communities around me and offer resources and aid to to those who are impoverished, neglected, and abused” she says.

Tijen Demirel-Pegg, an Assistant Professor in the IUPUI Department of Political Science and International Studies Program notes that Brenna “has managed to achieve such a strong academic standing while working…as a supervisor for Mending Fences where she supervises high conflict visitations mandated by the court and advocates for children’s safety and their bonding with their parents.”

Nicole Gehring, one of Dilley’s co-workers in the SCAN program ( Stop Child Abuse and Neglect) noted that Brenna began as a visitation supervisor for court ordered visitation.  She managed high conflict situations with ease and was able to offer a safe environment for children to interact with their parents.  After six months, she was promoted to Family Case Manager, assisting low-income and at-risk mothers through home visitation.”  Gehring observed that Dilley’s quick promotion resulted from her positive attitude, self-motivation, and her ability to empower women through her knowledge and skillset.

The annual Rotaract Altruism Scholarship is sponsored by the Education Committee of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis and is funded by Bill Ervin, a former adjunct professor at Butler University. Ervin is a longstanding Rotarian and a board member of the John Henry Weidner Foundation (http://www.weidnerfoundation.org).  The John Weidner Foundation honors the example of Weidner, a WWII escape line organizer.  The line, known as The Dutch-Paris Escape Line, involved over 300 individuals and families who risked their lives to house, feed and protect refugees.  All in all, the line rescued over 1080 downed Allied pilots, political refugees and Jews fleeing the Gestapo, SS and Sicherdienstheit.  Weidner was himself a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow after emigrating to the United States after the war.