• Ken Woodruff Scholarship Fund


    “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    What is the Ken Woodruff Scholarship Fund?
     KEN The Ken Woodruff Scholarship Fund commemorates a lifelong commitment to helping people.  Ken was the founder of Portage Adult Education.  It was his pioneering spirit that created the network of adult education services that exist today in Northwest Indiana.  His belief that it was “never too late” inspired teachers and students to reach for the very best in themselves.  That belief was the spirit behind the motto, “You Can”.  That kind of belief in people is contagious.   It changes lives. 

    Ken left behind a legacy comprised of thousands of people whose lives were improved because of his belief and tireless dedication to adult education.  As Neighbors’ we are committed to continuing his legacy.  The Ken Woodruff Scholarship Fund honors his life’s work by providing assistance to people who could not otherwise afford the fees associated with the GED test.   We believe in lending that helping hand.  Sometimes a small gesture is all it takes to make a difference.

    How can I contribute to the fund?
    Donating to the fund is simple.  Just send a check or money order to Neighbors' Educational Opportunities.  Make your check payable to NEO and send the check to: 


    5201 U.S. Highway 6

    Portage, IN  46368


    All donations go directly to help students with High School Equivalency (HSE) Test preparation and testing fees.

    About Ken Woodruff 
    First and foremost, Ken Woodruff will always be remember for his sense of humor, love of people, and gentle kindness.  He is considered by many a
    KEN pioneer in the field of adult education.  In 1962 when the state of Indiana sent out a call for school corporations to provide educational opportunities for adults who did not have a high school diploma, Ken helped Portage Township Schools answer that call.

     As the first director of adult education, Ken began a program that offered a few night classes for high school diploma completion. By 1970 Ken opened the first adult learning center to to provide GED instruction. In the mid-1970's Ken hired a young woman named Linda O'Brien as the first adult learning center teacher.  A few years later, Portage Adult Education opened the GED Testing center and other community based learning centers.  Together Ken Woodruff and Linda O'Brien (Friedrich) created an adult education program that spanned six counties in northwest Indiana.  The program offered an adult high school and provided learning centers in Portage as well as community based learning centers in 24 locations throughout the six-county area.  Each year the program served 2500 students and 500 High School and GED graduates.

     During the 48 years the program was in operation, thousands of people were able to complete high school or earn a GED diploma.  His dedication and passion for helping others touched and changed many lives.  Ken received many awards and honors for his dedication to education and literacy at the state and local level, among them Indianapolis Star "Jefferson Award" for community service and the Outstanding Adult Educator in Indiana, both in 1978, Porter County Youth Service Bureau Award, 1982, I.U. School of Education Outstanding Alumni Award, 1991.