2023 NCCS Scholarship awardee: “I choose to live a life where I participate in society and extend the charitable beliefs of the Catholic Church and Scouting”

Catholic Scouting helped Bridget Brady of Byram, New Jersey discern her life calling to become a therapist and help people struggling with mental health issues. For Bridget, this need was highlighted during the pandemic, when more people suffered from anxiety, depression and other challenges because of the isolation and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

“A good therapist is a servant leader helping other people to find peace in their lives. In doing so, I will honor my promise to ‘help other people at all times’ while assisting them to remain ‘mentally awake and morally straight.’ This is a perfect use of the lessons I learned in Scouting and how I can continue to live the Scout Oath and Law,” said Bridget. ”Mental health is such an overlooked issue in our society and my desire to assist those that may be struggling stems from the values that I have learned in Scouting, specifically: being helpful, friendly, kind and brave.”

Bridget and fellow Scout standing in front of donations in a garage

For her Eagle project, Bridget sought to bring comfort to group home residents in her area facing isolation during the pandemic. She raised over $3,000 and collected hundreds of pounds of donated craft materials, books, games and other items and then assembled program boxes to meet the individual needs of nearly 200 residents of 23 group homes in her community. These program boxes eased loneliness of group home residents who needed to stay home and not have visitors during the early months of the pandemic to avoid spread of illness.

Hand-written thank you card from residents of one of the group homes where Bridget delivered program boxes

“The residents of the group homes benefitted from my project because they were able to remain comfortable during the day when they could not leave their residence,” said Bridget. “Before the pandemic and now that restrictions have been lifted, they attend a daily program focused on something that interests them such as crafting or gardening. When they lost the ability to do these things, I was able to assist them in remaining active and engaged when so many others were suffering in isolation.”

Smiling young woman in Scout uniform in front of a painting

Bridget is also an active volunteer in her parish and school communities. At her home parish of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Bridget served as an altar server, a vacation bible school volunteer, and as a Squire Rose, assisting young children with activities during parish events. In her community, Bridget volunteered over 350 hours with the Sussex County Food Bank, where she pulled together bags of needed items for local individuals and families. She also volunteered at One Step Closer Animal Rescue and as an assistant youth soccer coach. Bridget is committed to continue serving others and giving back throughout her life, and in her planned profession as a mental health therapist. She plans to attend Catholic University of America in the fall, majoring in psychology.

“Volunteering, giving of one’s self and participating in our society, is essential and at the core for what Jesus wants us to be, that is humanitarian,” said Bridget. “I will be able to show my clients compassion as I have developed through taking on leadership roles and guiding other Scouts as a servant leader.”

This year, National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) awarded 10 college scholarships totaling $27,000 nationwide to recognize Scouts for outstanding service and leadership. NCCS awarded Bridget a $4,000 scholarship through the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship Fund for her service in four areas: Church, community, school and Scouting. Bridget plans to continue her outstanding commitment to service.

“I choose to live a life where I participate in society and extend the charitable beliefs of the Catholic Church and Scouting. When we all are able to live our lives by giving of ourselves every day, society is better for it. Volunteering sends a powerful message to those who benefit – it acknowledges their need and shows them that there are those who care and will help.”

Bridget Brady

View eligibility requirements and access the application form for 2024 NCCS Scholarships.

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