Former Gwinnett County resident Aeshia Miles utilized her athletic talent to go to college and beyond. In August she was named a graduate assistant softball coach at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, the first step in her plan to one day be a head coach on the Division I level.
And now Miles, who played on state-championship teams at Collins Hill High School in 2011 and 2013 and utilized her pitching ability during a four-year career at Ball State University, seeks to help others in their educational pursuits.
Through her business, AAMPH LLC (where she provides pitching and softball lessons), Miles earlier this year established the Young King’s Scholarship, which provided $500 awards to four young Black men to apply to their education, be in in college or technical school. She has now started a second initiative, the Young Queen’s Scholarship, which will provide similar financial aid to young black women.
“My father provided perfectly for our family and we ended up well,” Miles said. “Of course, much credit goes to my mom, because she’s a rock as well, but in the dynamic of a family, when you have a strong male in the house, it makes a difference, especially in the African-American community.
“So when I started thinking about that, success correlates to higher education – the likelihood of finding a job and being able to provide and the kids growing up in that environment want to do the same thing – having that generational success. … And I thought maybe I can help this way. There shouldn’t be a reason kids can’t continue their education when they have a desire and a passion to do so.”
In a video on her Facebook page, Miles – who also played professionally in Germany and New Zealand – referenced the late Civil Rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis as the inspiration for the scholarships.
“One of our great leaders once said, ‘When you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something, you have to do something.’ That was from the Honorable John Lewis,” she said. “And I’ve decided to do something.”
In an email, Miles said she decided to establish the scholarship during the summer when “all the unjust and racial tension in this country was high.”
The second round of Young King’s and Queen’s Scholarships – for the Spring 2021 semester — will be awarded on Jan. 10, 2021 and applications must be submitted before Jan. 3, 2021. Applicants must be a Black male or female, must show proof of acceptance and admission to a university, must be registered to vote and must show financial need.
In addition, a 30-second-to-1-minute video explaining why the scholarship will be helpful and detailing future plans will be required.
Scholarships for Fall 2021 semester will also be available, with the application deadline set for Aug. 1, 2021 and the winners – two young men and two young women – announced on Aug. 8, 2021.
People who want to support the program are also encouraged to make donations to the scholarship fund through PayPal or CASHAPP ($AAMPH).
“Originally, I was going to do this with my own money,” she said. “But once I put it on Facebook I was so surprised with all the support I got. I thought, ‘I can’t believe this many people want to help.’ It was awesome. I’m still shocked at how it all turned out.”