The Pandemic Made Me Do It: 2020 Kristen D. Hofheimer Memorial Scholarship

Posted on Apr 13, 2020 by Katie Carter

I’ve said it a couple of times lately: In recent weeks, I’ve understood how some bigger events – like the Great Depression and the World Wars – could really shape a person. We certainly had an experience like that after 9/11; everybody remembers where they were then, and probably also remembers the time immediately after.

This, though, is like nothing I – and, really, anyone else – has ever experienced before. Entire grocery stores being emptied. Businesses we’ve come to depend on (restaurants, movie theaters, salons, gyms) closed. Major sports cancelled. Schools closed through the summer. Courthouses closed. Weddings, proms, graduations – all cancelled. News filled with details about how the virus is spreading – rapidly, uncontrollably – across the entire world.

It’s a weird, volatile, scary time, compounded by the fact that no one knows how long this will even last. Though many of us are very fortunate, it’s still isolating, frustrating, and difficult to be stuck at home, especially since many of us are trying to work at home without childcare or schools to help with the kids.

Life as we knew it has changed, possibly irrevocably.

It has me thinking a lot about jobs. Record numbers of people have been applying for unemployment benefits in recent weeks as companies have laid of millions of workers. Others have been classified as essential. I’ve read articles about the inherent social and class distinctions; white collar workers can work from home and keep their jobs, while blue collar workers are more likely to either have been let go or furloughed, or to be on the front lines dealing with the general public, which may or may not be infected.
Suddenly, too, we’re hearing about this distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” workers. It’s a distinction that, admittedly, had never occurred to me before. It certainly wasn’t something I thought about in college, when I was making career plans for my future.

Speaking of the future… Let’s talk about yours.

Are you going back to school? Has the recent instability in the world made you change your thinking?

This year, for our second year, our Kristen D. Hofheimer Memorial Scholarship will focus on the pandemic, how it changed your thinking, and how it’ll shape your future. Obviously, it’s not all gloom and doom out there; if you take this situation and turn it into a future that will provide better security and stability for you and your family, well, then I think it’s safe to say the pandemic might be a really good thing for you personally.

Oh, of course, it’s scary! But challenges can change you, and, by finding this page, it shows me that you’re already one who is thinking of how you can use this situation to change your life (and your children’s lives) for the better.

So, what is it? Do you want to go to school to be a doctor or a nurse, so that the next time something like this hits, you’re one of our superheroes on the front lines? Do you want to go back to work to get a white collar job that would allow you to work from home? Do you want to be an educator because you’ve enjoyed homeschooling so much? (Okay, seriously, that would qualify you for a gold medal, in my book!) Is there some other change you’re contemplating that I haven’t even considered yet?

Times like these change us. There may be changes that last forever, too. If you’re feeling like you need to change to move with the times, to adapt to a new normal, well, then, I think that’s awesome. It’s not easy (is change EVER easy?), but it’s smart.

I like that about you. And I hope you’ll consider applying for our scholarship.

How much is the scholarship worth?

We’re offering two $1,000 scholarships!

Am I eligible?

Maybe! We’re looking for a Virginia woman who is going back to school – any school – to get a degree, certification, or other qualification that will allow her to improve her circumstances. It doesn’t have to be a two or four year degree; really, almost anything goes.

We aren’t looking for high school seniors; we’re looking for nontraditional students. Older women, moms, divorced women, or others who are headed back to school after trying the workforce for a bit.

Kristen D. Hofheimer Memorial? Who was Kristen Hofheimer?

I’m so glad you asked. Kristen was a founding member of the firm, and our former managing attorney.

Last year, on January 19th, she passed away after a long struggle with breast cancer. I still can’t believe it, and it’s hard to type those words.

Kristen was an incredible person, and the consummate champion for women. We started this scholarship after her death to make sure we remember to continue to honor her legacy the way she would have wanted – through encouraging, empowering, and educating women. You can read more about Kristen here, request a copy of her custody book here, or read her article about breastfeeding in custody cases here.

I’m a client. Does that matter?

Yes! We’ll award some points for being a client, but, if you’re not, that doesn’t mean you’re ineligible. In fact, we’ll also award points for other things – attending a seminar, going to Girl’s Night Out, or, really, engaging with us in any way. Still, if you haven’t, or if you’re just hearing about us, that’s okay! There are a lot of different qualities that we consider when we decide who should receive the scholarship, so APPLY!

We’re expecting a lot of applications, so, no matter what, you’ll want to make sure yours is top notch. Tell us why you should receive it, and not someone else! I can be convinced. In fact, I’m hoping to be convinced!

After we’ve selected our favorites from our applicant pool, we’ll post the videos to Facebook and open it up for voting! It’s kind of like The Voice or American Idol; you’ll have to get votes from America to win! (And, obviously, whether you’re a client or not won’t help you there!) So, you’ll have to enlist the support of friends and family members, too. Fun, right? The social element is critical here, and I think that makes it better, too. Who else could use some good news right about now?

Speaking of applications… What’s required?

We’ll have an application, and also a video essay. Don’t be nervous; you don’t necessarily have to do anything fancy. I shoot video all the time using my iPhone!

And, anyway – you’re stuck at home, at least through June 10th! You can spend some time familiarizing yourself with video editing software, too; heck, maybe that’s even your chosen new profession!

I’m sure visual effects could help enhance an application, but what we’re really looking for is a story. Tell your story, how the pandemic shaped you, and what you hope to do in the future. We want happy, excited, optimistic stories!

What’s the theme?

Oh, oops – I should mention that, right? I’ve been touching on it all along, but the theme is “The Pandemic Made Me Do It”. Let’s talk about how this once-in-a-lifetime event (or, at least, let’s hope it’s once-in-a-lifetime) has shaped our consciousness, and what we’re going to do with it in the future.

Where can I get more information?

Oh, right! You can check out our website for more information, to fill out the application, or to see any posted updates.
We’ll also email our herd to keep everyone up to date on specific deadlines, to let them know which finalists were chosen, when the videos will be updated to our social media pages, and, ultimately, which two were selected to receive the scholarship.

Last year, we selected two women, Brittany Harris and Lindsay Smith, to receive the scholarship. Handing them their checks (and some other fun goodies; there may or may not have been some champagne involved!) was such a rewarding moment. I know they’ll go out into the world and do great things. To see our award ceremonies, you can visit our Facebook page.

At the end of the day, global pandemic or not, we’re here to uplift and support women. Sure, we’re a divorce and custody law firm, but representing, supporting, and encouraging women is our thing. We’ve made a whole host of divorce and custody books and free reports available for download, we offer divorce and custody seminars, and we host fun, free nights out for our herd. We’re different than your average law firm, for sure. That’s what our founder and former managing partner, Kristen Hofheimer, stood for, and it’s what we’ll always support and encourage.

We’re so pleased that you found us, and hope you’ll consider applying for our scholarship. Its an honor and a privilege to help, in whatever way we can, as you reach for your goals.

COVID-19: you can’t take us down! For more information, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.