Southern Illinois University Student Stephen Ross Creates Scholarship Fund For Kids Affected By Crime

08/31/2010 05:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While some resources are available for inmates looking to turn their lives around after jail, many children with incarcerated parents end up making many sacrifices due to a crime they did not commit.

One student at Southern Illinois University wants to help those children go to college.

Stephen Ross, an agribusiness economics major at SIU, started the "Peanut Scholarship Fund" after his friend went to prison--leaving his son (nicknamed "Peanut") behind. Ross told the Saluki Times that he knew the child would face an uphill battle trying to pay for college with an incarcerated parent.

Ross, who is from Chicago, told the Associated Press that the "Peanut" fund would provide need-based scholarships to potential students at the Carbondale school whose parents can't provide financial support because of crime, either because they are in prison or have been victims of crime.

Ross hopes to raise enough money to provide full-ride scholarships to eligible students.

A fundraiser for the "Peanut Scholarship Fund" will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 the SIUC Student Center at the Carbondale university. The event will feature a screening of the Norwegian film, "Troubled Water," according to the Saluki Times. The film tells the story of what happens when a young man recently released from prison encounters the victims of his crime.

Admission to the event is $2.