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He's Just 24, But Englewood Native Is Passing Out Scholarships To Give Back

 Englewood native Cassius Rudolph believes
Englewood native Cassius Rudolph believes "you should pour back into the community what the community poured into you."
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Cassius L. Rudolph

CHICAGO — Cassius Rudolph believes "you should pour back into the community what the community poured into you."

The 24-year-old Englewood native credits family, friends and church for guiding him through the South Side's rough streets to the graduation stage at Harlan High School and Tougaloo College.

Rudolph, now a graduate student at Columbia University's Union Theological Seminary, is the first person in his family to graduate from college.

This month, he's giving back, awarding at least three $1,000 scholarships to seniors at Harlan, 9652 S. MIchigan Ave., who will be attending Tougaloo, a historically black college in Jackson, Miss.

"Charity begins at home," Rudolph said. "My message to the kids in Chicago is they can make it if they work hard, study hard and ask for help."

Rudolph said his father was in prison for most of his teenage years, and he was raised by his great-grandmother and mother. His free time was spent at nearby Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 6352 S. Eggleston Ave., he said. Religion has been part of his life since then, with Rudolph graduating from Tougaloo with a degree in liberal studies with an emphasis on religion and philosophy in 2014.

He said about 25 Harlan seniors have applied for the scholarships. Next year, he wants to award as many as 10 scholarships, with more as the years pass.

He hopes to serve as an example that a kid from the South Side "can make it."

"There are a lot of positives from Harlan and the South Side of Chicago on a daily basis," Rudolph said.

Rudolph is seeking donations for the Harlan scholarships. For more information, click here.

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