Plaza del Rio Foundation presents 11 scholarships

The Plaza del Rio Foundation raised $22,250 in resident contributions that were presented as fall 2019 scholarship awards to 11 employees of the Freedom Plaza Retirement Campus. Freedom Plaza’s executive director, Jai Larman, front left; Plaza del Rio Foundation President Gail Poolner; and Foundation board members honor the scholarship recipients, descending the staircase: Deborah Ingram, Stephanie Guzman, Reyna Duran, Marlee Burgess, Courtney Doss, Kara Payment, Sergio Torres, Erynn Duran and Sylvia Omwancha. Not pictured are Kristi Silva and Alyssa Linares.

The Plaza del Rio Foundation honored 11 employees of Freedom Plaza Retirement Campus at its Fall 2019 Scholarship Awards Presentation in Peoria.

Funded by resident donations, the William T. and Laura Lou Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund awarded $22,250 in scholarships to 11 students for the fall 2019 semester. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, work experience and financial assistance needed to achieve their goals.

The fall 2019 scholarship recipients from Freedom Plaza Independent Living include: business office Kristi Silva; concierge Stephanie Guzman; custom care Alyssa Linares; dining services Marlee Burgess, Reyna Duran and Courtney Doss; and marketing Erynn Duran; as well as staff from Freedom Plaza Care Center rehab tech Kara Payment; resident programs Deborah Ingram and Sergio Torres; and The Inn Assisted Living & Memory Care caregiver Sylvia Omwancha.

“This is my 12th scholarship presentation that I am overseeing,” said Freedom Plaza’s executive director, Jai Larman. “It never gets old. It is a privilege to be a part of the board. The sole mission is to further education of individuals for the greater good of the community. Students take this opportunity to soar.”

The Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund has awarded 423 scholarships since 1997, funding $592,319 for tuition and books at the college, nursing or technical school of choice.

“As I go into my final semester, I cherish the special bonds made here,” six-time scholarship recipient Reyna Duran said. She plans to graduate in December with a speech and hearing science degree from ASU. 

To learn more about the Plaza del Rio Foundation and William T. and Laura Lou Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund, call 623-815-4013.

The Freedom Plaza Retirement Campus, located at 13373 Plaza del Rio Boulevard in Peoria, features 345 entry-fee independent living apartments, 65 assisted living apartments at The Inn with 20 additional apartments providing specialized Alzheimer’s or dementia care, plus skilled nursing and rehabilitation services at Freedom Plaza Care Center. Visit for more information.