LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A new scholarship fund has been created to help the children of the victims who lost their life on 1 October.
It is called Children of the 58 Scholarship Fund.
It was created in partnership with the Education Foundation and the Family of Neysa Tonks, who died in the shooting. Neysa Tonks was a single mother to three boys when her life was tragically taken on 1 October.
Since then, her sister, Mynda Smith, has spent the past three years raising money to make college more affordable, not only her nephews, but all of the children who are now without a parent because of that shooting.
"This last year’s been a little bit better, but as the anniversary approaches, it definitely is one that is a hard reminder of what was three years ago," said Smith, reflecting on the anniversary of that fateful day.
Smith still struggles with the loss of her sister and helping to raise the three boys she left behind.
"It’s heavy. It’s hard. My parents struggle. My nephews struggle. And I think that as long as you continue to look for light and as long as people continue to share kindness and help their fellow man, that’s what keeps us going," said Smith.
But Neysa's three boys weren't the only kids who lost a parent on 1 October.
"We realized that there were 55 kids that had lost a parent that were 21 and under, and we thought, you know what, what better way to help them move forward than by giving them support and love and financial aid that they can go further their education, not just stop, but continue on and be able to do that in honor of their loved one that they lost," said Smith.
With help from her parents and the Public Education Foundation, they raised more than $350,000 and established the Children of the 58 Scholarship Foundation.
"Already this year, we have been able to give out six scholarships and one is my nephew and it’s just beautiful. It’s beautiful to see that they want to continue their education, that they want to not let what this tragedy has brought to their lives stop them from moving forward. And we’re just so excited for their futures and their success," said Smith.
Based on the money Mynda helped raise, all 55 kids qualify for about $3500 dollars towards college. If they choose not to take advantage of it, that money will go towards an endowment to help students attend UNLV.
If you'd like to learn more, click this link.
If you'd like to donate to the Children of the 58 Foundation, click this link.