Carlos, a loving and devoted son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend, passed away suddenly on September 6, 1993. Just 22 years old at the time of his passing, he had recently graduated from UMass Dartmouth and was contemplating the course his life would take. As is typical in cases where a young, vibrant and healthy individual is suddenly gone, Carlos’ death left family and friends with questions. However, as time passed and as the faith in God which had nurtured and now sustained his family and friends worked its wonder, the realization occurred that when we were finally in a position to know the answers to those questions, we would be at the foot of the throne and then the answers would no longer matter, for we would be with Carlos once again. That realization led to a change in the question – from “Why did this happen?” to “What good can come of this?” and “How best can Carlos’ legacy be carried on?”
In looking at Carlos’ life, one striking feature emerged: his exemplary commitment to Cape Verdean youth. Whether as a Sunday School teacher, youth group leader, volunteer for PONTE (People Organizing Neighborhoods to Excel, a now-defunct Pawtucket-based community service group), or as a mentor or friend, Carlos had dedicated countless hours to the support and advancement of Cape Verdean youngsters. It was decided that the best way to memorialize Carlos and the work in which he had engaged in his life on earth was to start a scholarship fund to assist Cape Verdean youth. And so the Carlos J. DaLomba Scholarship was created in 1994.
In contemplating what the criteria for the scholarship should be, the original members of the Scholarship Committee, most of whom continue to serve to this day, looked to what had been important to Carlos himself:
Because Carlos had a particular concern for those CV youth of lesser means, often utilizing not only his time but his personal funds to take them to recreational parks, beaches and other places their wallets might not have permitted them to go, Financial Need become a criteria;
Because Carlos believed and attempted to impart to the youth with whom he worked that education was the key to future success, Academic Achievement became a criteria;
And because Carlos, by example, encouraged the youth to become active in their churches and communities through volunteerism, Religious and Community Service became a criteria.
And so each year the members of the Scholarship Committee convene in July and review the application submissions received. Each Committee member reviews each application individually and independently, scoring the applicants from 1 to 10 in the areas of Financial Need, Academic Achievement and Religious and Community Service, for a maximum total of 30 points. It is only after each committee member has reviewed and scored each application submission that the group convenes as whole and tallies the scores. In what is a true democratic process, historically the two applicants with the highest total scores are declared that year’s recipients.