LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program Provides Financial Help for Students Whose Parents Died With Little or No Life Insurance

Arlington, Va. – June 29, 2012 – The nonprofit LIFE Foundation announced today an online vote to help determine which of two students in its LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program will be awarded $10,000 towards their college education. The two finalists highlighted in the vote submitted videos describing the financial and emotional impact of losing a parent at an early age, especially how the lack of adequate life insurance coverage affected their college plans. Voting will take place between now and the end of July. The voting process is being conducted on the LIFE Foundation’s Facebook page, and can be accessed through this direct link,

The students featured in the vote are:

  • Johana Lopez, Bay Harbor, Fla. – Johana’s father was murdered when she was 12 years old. For safety reasons, Johana’s mother moved with her three children from Texas to Florida. Because her husband didn’t have any life insurance, Johana’s mother worked multiple jobs to try to make ends meet. But it still wasn’t enough. So when Johanna was 16, she made the difficult decision to drop out of high school and take on a full-time job to help support her family. Johana eventually got her high school degree. She wanted to attend a four-year college, but enrolled in her local community college instead because it was all that she could afford at the time. Johana, now 21, was recently accepted into the University of Miami and, with the help of scholarships and financial aid, will begin her studies there in September.
  • David Leyden, Pittsburgh, Pa. – David’s parents divorced when he was 12, and his mother was given sole custody of her two sons because of various problems that her ex-husband had, including alcoholism. David’s mother had worked as a lawyer but gave up that career to homeschool her boys, a decision she made, in part, because her younger son was frequently bullied in school because of his weight. After several years of relative calm, David’s mother was diagnosed with vaginal cancer and died later that same year. Her boys were left without a financial safety net because she didn’t have any life insurance. They also didn’t have any family who could take them in, and thus became wards of the state and dependent on Social Security survivor benefit checks for their financial needs. David is now approaching his 18th birthday and will soon lose his survivor benefits. David, who has worked since he was 15, will now need to cover all of his living expenses. He will also be solely responsible for paying for college. In September he will begin his freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh.

The LIFE Foundation has already awarded Johana and David $5,000 scholarships because their applications were judged to be the two best in the Video Category. The online vote will determine which student receives an additional $5,000 toward their college education costs.

“Johana and David’s stories are good examples of how difficult life can become for your children if you fail to plan ahead for their financial future,” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. “When a parent dies without life insurance, financial chaos can settle in very quickly and plans for the future, like a college education, often get postponed or set aside altogether. We created the LIFE Lessons Scholarship program to help deserving young people like Johana and David to realize their dream of a college education and to remind moms and dads everywhere of the need to include life insurance in their college-funding plans.”

In all, LIFE will award 61 scholarships this year totaling $112,000. The winner of the online vote, as well as the other 2012 scholarship recipients, will be announced in September 2012. For more information about the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program visit To cast your vote for the two video finalists, visit

About the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program
The LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program is open to young people between ages 17 and 24, who have experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian, and are currently enrolled in, or have been accepted to, a college, university or trade school. Applications are solicited in the spring and scholarship recipients are notified in the summer. LIFE accepts individual, tax-deductible donations for the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Fund online at For more information, visit

About LIFE
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public’s growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance solutions that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit

Brooke Martin

Jessica Thorpe

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