The Handshake America Scholarship Program

The Handshake America Scholarship Program consists of eight scheduled sessions between the Students and their Handshake Coaches over the course of a year.  The sessions are mostly workshop-type group discussions focusing on the Handshake 5Practices:  Perseverance, Passion, People, Positivity, and Presence.  Students learn from their Handshake Coaches, peers and special guests who provide different perspectives on what it takes to be successful.

The Five Practices of Success

PERSEVERANCE – is about not giving up. It’s more about stamina than intensity. It’s not just about working incredibly hard but staying the course, resisting temptation and recognizing there are no short- cuts in life. It’s being tough, strong, determined, courageous, and resolved. It’s realizing that life is not about going undefeated, but about learning from setbacks and bouncing back. Perseverance comes from your gut. How do we coach it? By standing by them, with them, and behind them; by being coaches and “cheerleaders”, and by witness of our own example. 

PASSION – is a steady feeling of enthusiasm in doing something. It’s waking up thinking of questions you fell asleep thinking about. You stay pointed in the same direction, eager to move forward and devoting your limited time and efforts toward it. Passion comes from your heart. How do we coach it? By challenging them to keep discovering and exploring different interests. As with all matters of the heart, they’ll know it when they find it. 

PASSION + PERSEVERANCE = GRIT = The key attribute for being a part of Handshake America. 

POSITIVITY – is a wide range of positive emotions – not just being happy. It’s an optimistic attitude that triggers positive emotions, open minds, and relaxed limbs. Like negativity, it has a long-term impact on your character, relationships, communities, environment, and personal trajectory – and it shapes our souls. Positivity comes from your mind. How do we coach it? By helping them realize that it’s a choice and a tough mental practice. They will begin to recognize how a positive mindset makes people stronger and more effective. 

PEOPLE – is knowing that you’re significantly influenced by the people around you. Good people bring you up and bad people bring you down. It includes who you choose to admire, read, watch, and listen to. It’s knowing the difference between ‘real’ friends and ‘counterfeit’ ones. It’s also being a good friend, family member, and teammate. People are those who surround you. How do we coach it? By being an excellent example of what a good friend/coach looks and acts like. Staying committed despite adversity, giving more than what is expected, and inciting others to higher levels. 

PRESENCE – is the poise and confidence that is the natural result of the other Practices. It’s being comfortable in your own skin and not trying to be someone else. It comes from knowing that you’re doing the right things and you’re prepared. It includes a firm handshake, combed hair, speaking clearly, good posture, arriving early, making conversation and sending ‘thank you’ notes. It’s also being respected by others. Presence is the total package. How do we coach it? First show them how much you care, then provide specific instruction. The truth may be uncomfortable, but if their coach doesn’t tell them, who will? 

Doug Probst - February 2019 

Credits: John Wooden/Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court; William J. Bennett/Book of Virtues; Henry Aaron/Speech to Handshake Students; Angela Duckworth/Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance; Walter Isaacson/Steve Jobs: A Biography; Barbara Fredrickson, PhD/Positivity: Top Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life 


Bringing it Altogether

When students complete the Handshake Program, they receive a $1,000 Scholarship and become ‘5P Leaders’ as described below:

You will become leaders - 5P Leaders - because you will reveal your grit with your perseverance to get through the tough times while you’re figuring out what your passions are that are driving that determination. 

You will inspire people with your positive mental attitude; you will surround yourself and associate with good people and begin to identify and separate yourself from the bad ones.

You will continue these practices, and because you are coachable, you will continue to benefit from being coached, learn from your experiences, and keep getting better, and better, and better. You will continue to develop and consequently have more poise and confidence every day because you know deep inside that you’re doing the right things. 

And with these virtues you’ll ultimately have a presence that will not just be noticed when you walk into a room but, more importantly, you’ll be more appreciated and respected by people when they get to know you, work with you, and live with you. 

For if you continue to practice the 5Ps we discussed over the year you will experience success. And do you how you’ll know it? You’ll know it because the people who know you the best, love and respect you the most – and you will be living with no regrets because you’ve done your very best.

-President & Co-founder, Doug Probst addressing the 2018 Handshake Columbus Students at their Annual Assembly

Program Calendar

Session #1 KICKOFF 2/15-2/28 All Coaches, Students, Parents/Guardians

Session #2 STUDENT/COACH ONE-ON-ONE 3/1-3/26 at Student's School

Session #3 PERSEVERANCE 3/27-4/30* Group Sessions of ~12 people

Session #4 PASSION 5/1-6/10* Group Sessions of ~12 people

HANDSHAKE AMERICA DAY CELEBRATION June in Columbus, OH; Special Event for All Handshake America & Guests

Session #5 POSITIVITY 7/15-8/31* Group Sessions of ~12 people

Session #6 PEOPLE 9/1-10/15* Group Sessions of ~12 people

Session #7 PRESENCE 10/16-11/30* Group Sessions of ~12 people

Session #8 ANNUAL ASSEMBLY 1/20-1/30, Awards & Celebration for All Coaches, Students, Families, Guests

*Students & Coaches sign up for the session they plan to attend: CLICK HERE to Signup for Session