Youth Scholarship Programs
The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $35,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you. The Youth Scholarships also extend to recognizing teachers that make a major impact. Learn more about the various scholarship programs below.
Voice of Democracy
Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.
Each year, nearly 25,000 ninth through 12th grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.3 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
The national first place winner receives a $35,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$21,000, and the first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins at least a scholarship of $1,000.
Each year, nearly 68,800 students in sixth through eighth grades enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000!
The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.
Teacher of the Year
Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn’t be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America. Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle, and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program.
Some of our earliest ties to the community involve youth groups and perhaps none are stronger or more lasting than the relationship between the VFW and America’s scouting organizations. In fact, our partnership with the Boy Scouts of America dates back to 1915 when VFW Post 2100 helped to establish Troop 1 in Everett, Washington.
Our Scout of the Year program provides members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to be recognized for their standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country.
VFW Scholar's App
Are you a student, parent or VFW member researching how the new VFW Scholar’s App works? Here is a training video to help you better understand forms, application process, and judging criteria.
VFW in the Classroom
Every day, we strive to thank America’s educators by providing them with helpful resources and encouraging our members to visit local classrooms. Let us help you educate America’s future leaders and bring history to life! Veterans play an important role in educating our nation’s youth about the founding principles upon which America was founded. As combat veterans, VFW members can provide students with a unique perspective about the sacrifices America’s service members make to maintain freedom for all of us.
When visiting a classroom, a VFW member will prepare a brief introduction, a main presentation and a Q&A session. Depending on the topic, a member may bring appropriate memorabilia, uniforms, photographs and other relevant material. American history is something we all share, and there’s no one better to help tell that story than someone who’s had a great part in shaping it.
Contact your local VFW Post to arrange for a veteran to visit your classroom.