Billy Barty was an American film and television actor possibly best known for his performance in the movie Willow. He had a rare form of dwarfism called cartilage-hair hypoplasia that caused him to have an adult height of only 3 foot 9. During his life, Billy became a major activist for others with dwarfism. In 1957, he invited other little people to join him for a get together in Reno, Nevada. What resulted from that initial meeting was the formation of Little People of America, the first such group of little people formed in North America.
LPA is now the leading national non-profit dedicated to supporting people of short stature and their families. It has over 6,000 members spread across 70 local chapters. The bulk of its work involves education and support for families of little people. It also organizes various means of social interaction within the dwarfism community through yearly conferences and regularly held athletic events. The LPA also works to find homes for children of short stature through an adoption program. In addition to this advocacy work, the LPA offers several annual college scholarships for short people.
Little People of America Scholarships
The LPA Scholarship Program offers three awards each year. These scholarships usually range in size from $250 to $1,000 each but can possibly be offered for larger amounts. This funding can be used to attend any college or vocational school located in the United States. Two scholarships are awarded each year to undergraduate students and one scholarship is offered for study in a graduate school program. While you do not have to be a member of LPA to receive an award, priority is given to LPA members diagnosed with a form of dwarfism and family members of LPA members before scholarships are given to those who are not members of the organization. Those interested in applying for this scholarship should fill out this application and return it by mail no later than April 22. You will need to write a personal essay, provide school transcripts and submit three letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Applications are not accepted by email but if you have any questions about the application process you can email LPA Vice President of Programs Jon North at firstname.lastname@example.org.