The second round of awardees for the Work in Enid Award were announced by Cherokee Strip Community Foundation.
The Work in Enid Award began in April 2022, and provides up to $10,000 in student loan relief debt to recipients who move to Enid to work.
The spring 2023 recipients are Ashley Dirks and Kayla Grebe.
Dirks is a 2015 graduate of Enid High School who earned an anthropology degree with a minor in psychology from the University of Oklahoma. Since graduating, Dirks has lived in Texas and Tulsa but had been wanting to move back to Enid. She works for Department of Human Services as a social worker and assists families getting signed up for the SNAP program.
“Enid is a great place to live and get involved,” Dirks said. “From my experience living in larger cities, finding a way to get involved and make a difference was hard. Enid is also a great place to make connections and build your network. Once you make one connection, it opens up other doors to get involved and learn more about the community.”
Dirks has gotten involved by volunteering with Friends of the Library, which she was part of in high school. She is looking forward to helping with the community garden at the library.
“It feels like a great place to start as a young professional,” Dirks said.
Grebe, a 2015 graduate of Inola High School, currently is finishing her rotation of pharmacy school in Enid through the University of Oklahoma. She learned about the award from her grandfather, who read an article in the Enid News & Eagle and mentioned it to her.
“My husband and his family are all from Enid, so I have to admit that was a big part of why we moved here,” Grebe said. “My husband and I met at the beginning of pharmacy school, and he started bringing me home to visit. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the town. Having lived in both a very small town and a big city in the past, I feel like Enid is the perfect middle ground. I feel very safe here and know it will be a great place to raise our children when the day comes.”
Grebe said the award will greatly help her pay off student loan debt and begin planning on having a family. Once finishing pharmacy school, Grebe plans to become more active in the community by volunteering with groups related to the medical field or helping children. She and her husband plan to open their own independent pharmacy in Enid.
“We’re happy that we continue to receive applications for the Work in Enid Award and that CSCF can assist in awarding two new winners,” said Carrie Sanders, executive director of Cherokee Strip Community Foundation. “The selection committee has been pleased to see that this award brings some great degreed professionals to our community, as it was designed to do.”
Cherokee Strip Community Foundation reviews applications quarterly. More information can be found about applying for the Work in Enid Award at liveinenid.com. Those who may be interested in contributing to the Work in Enid Award fund can contact the Cherokee Strip Community Foundation at (580) 234-3988.