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Make a Difference Award

The Make a Difference Award recognizes middle and high school students across Southwest Florida who make outstanding contributions of service to their community. The award provides up to $1000 in scholarship funds for selected applicants.

Founded over two decades ago upon the belief that the highest form of achievement is to do well by doing good, the Make a Difference Award is an expression of our commitment to making Southwest Florida more kind, fair, and just. Since the scholarship was established in 1998, over 200 middle and high school volunteers have been recognized and rewarded for their tireless work to make our area a better place. We know that the volunteerism acknowledged through the Make a Difference program is crucial to shaping a brighter tomorrow across Southwest Florida, and we want to thank every winner—past and future—for their tremendous efforts.

The Make a Difference Award recognizes students in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, and Lee counties who engage in volunteer work or community service above and beyond their school’s requirements.

If you are a parent, friend, teacher, or guidance counselor with an exceptional student who makes a difference in their community, please share this scholarship opportunity with them.

Financial awards through the Make a Difference program are awarded as follows to one student from every middle and high school that submits a minimum of three applications during a single school year:

  • $1000 for the Grand Prize Winner
  • $250 for the winner of each high school with at least 3 applicants
  • $100 for the winner of each middle school with at least 3 applicants

Application requirements:

  • Complete an online application or downloadable application. Be sure to include contact information, academic honors, and non-academic community achievements and/or volunteer work.
  • Attach a current high school transcript.
  • Attach a thoughtful, well-written essay in which the student describes their work helping others in our community. The focus should be on self-directed community service that exceeds the school’s minimum requirements. The essay must meet the following formatting criteria:
    • 1.25-inch margins on all sides
    • PDF or .docx formats preferred
    • 300-word minimum
    • Student’s full name, grade, and school name visible on each page
The History of the Make a Difference Award

Cheryl ScheinerCheryl Scheiner, Founder of the Make a Difference Award

Bruce and Cheryl Scheiner have seen a lot change since they first made Fort Myers their home in 1971. The one constant over five decades, however, has been the uplifting spirit of our Southwest Florida community. Bruce and Cheryl learned early on that a community is nothing more than the expression of the values and commitment of its members, and that the strength of a community is forged by the number of people who embrace, and actively undertake, the mission to make a positive difference. After nearly three decades of supporting local causes and charities, Cheryl founded the Make a Difference program of Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, in 1998.

The Make a Difference scholarship rewards exceptional young students for their commitment, compassion, and dedication to making Southwest Florida a better place to live. Throughout the years, Make a Difference Award recipients have achieved extraordinary feats, such as touching the hearts of families of fallen first responders, feeding children for a year, and providing awareness and support for mental health in our community. Many winners have gone so far as to create their own organizations to advance their mission of service. By recognizing and motivating these young leaders with this scholarship, the Scheiners hope to make their commitment contagious. In the words of their son PJ, who now practices with the firm as a trial attorney:

“The values and leadership of our community are shaped by what we recognize, what we reward, and what we choose to promote. The Make a Difference Award is our effort to promote the compassion, kindness, and service that then forges a fairer, kinder, and more just community. We know that every community is ultimately only as strong as the generation of local leadership.”

As a firm that is dedicated to fighting for justice, all of us at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, are grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community—our home—that we have had the privilege of serving for decades.

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If you are a guidance counselor and would like more information, please fill out this form for guidance counselors! More information is included in the MAD FAQ section. You are also welcome to contact us at makeadifference@blslawyers.com.

Meet Our Make A Difference Grand Prize Winner of 2021 Kady Jackson
Meet Our Make A Difference Grand Prize Winner of 2021
  • Graduated from North Fort Myers High Class of 2021
  • Excelled in a variety of advanced classes such as AP, DE, and AICE
  • Was the President of North Fort Myers High’s Interact Club
  • Was on the Executive Council of Student Government for Junior and Senior year
  • Worked over 300 Community Service Hours
Client Reviews
★★★★★
Bruce L. Scheiner and his team were the most friendly people I've ever met they genuinely cared about me... I highly recommend them Brooke Krause
★★★★★
I was really satisfied with services I received. Bruce is not only an attorney, but like family. He got me three times what I thought I would receive and was always there when I needed an answer on something. I'd say he is the best attorney I have dealt with in my 68 years. Harry Zulauf
★★★★★
I found working with the BLS firm to be a very good experience. They kept me informed on my case, answered all my questions, and were prompt when I needed assistance. Wendy Walker
★★★★★
I was in an accident and BLS was very helpful and gave a lot of support. If I had any questions, it was just a phone call away. Everyone in the office is very nice and helpful. Celeste Thompson
★★★★★
We had a wonderful experience with everyone here. The staff and attorneys were friendly, knowledgeable, and compassionate. They inquired about our injuries and our recovery. I would highly recommend their services! Heather Bair Daniels
★★★★★
I have nothing but good things to say about this law firm. I can honestly say that I am very satisfied with their work and my end results. I would absolutely recommend these set of attorneys to anyone. Thank you guys for all the hard work! Merida McDonald
★★★★★
BLS was incredibly helpful with my case, even during the hard challenging periods of my case Bruce & PJ were always just a call away. Even though they couldn't answer my call at that direct moment, they ALWAYS made a point to call me back. The staff at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner were always helpful and friendly, if they didn't have the answer they would always call me back with what I needed to know. Robert Drawdy
★★★★★
I was in a car accident and I seen his Advertisement on TV and I was very impressed of how kind and caring he really is to others and I called them and they took my case and they were very caring and understanding .. they were right on top of everything from being to end and the staff that works in the Fort Myers office were very friendly I would recommend them to a friend or family member if in need of a attorney... Thank you for your services and you made me feel like part of your family. Christina Mauro