EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Nine-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige is a big believer in giving chances to aspiring young women.
She afforded one to Camry Rosario of New York at halftime of the New York Urban League football game between Howard and Morgan State on Saturday.
Rosario received a combined check that represented a $50,000, four-year scholarship from Blige's charity, the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, and the Urban League. Rosario will use it to attend Mercy College and major in physical therapy.
For the 39-year-old recording artist, it was a matter of giving girls a chance she never had.
"It's important for me to give back because I never had the chance to get what I wanted out of the educational system," said Blige, whose commitment to the Urban League included participation in a panel discussion for 150 young women in May. "It's what I didn't have. But what I did have was a second chance at life."
Blige made the presentation with Urban League president and CEO Arva R. Rice. This was Blige's first year of commitment to the Urban League, following other luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey and the late George Steinbrenner.
"For her to give back is wonderful," Rice said. "She's a woman who's struggled, and so many of these kids are like her."
Blige, whose album "No More Drama" topped the charts in 1991, eschewed drama for generosity Saturday.
"I am these young women," Blige said. "A lot of women think they're not smart enough or strong enough to get the life. I want to give them a second chance. That's been my message since the beginning of my singing career.
"That's been my message, and it still stands as my message. When you're educated, you know where you're going, and you know you can go further."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)