As time ticks by to think about college and other higher education in the fall, the Women’s Club of South County offers Washington County women over the age of 19 the opportunity to pursue a dream.
Mary Logan, spokesperson for the organization, said: “We want to help those adult women who want to pursue their dreams, maybe re-enter the workforce or start a career that they could do because of the circumstances of the life.”
The deadline for applying for gfwcri.org/scholarship-program is April 1 and prizes range between $1,000 and $3,000, with multiple winners selected, she pointed out.
In essence, eligible persons must be:
Be a female at least 19 years old on the date of application, hold a high school diploma or
Graduate Equivalency Diploma
Be a resident of Washington County – Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham/Block Island, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown or Westerly.
Demonstrate financial need by providing the requested documents.
Be enrolled or accepted into a vocational or certificate program, or be working towards a first degree (i.e. associate or bachelor’s degree).
Demonstrate motivation to achieve educational and professional goals.
Preference is given to highly motivated women – with or without dependents – who need additional education or training to become self-sufficient. Dependents may include children, spouse, partner, siblings and/or parents.
“There are so many people looking for a fresh start and we have long believed that this type of assistance can help them, especially when they have nowhere to turn in their time of need” , Logan said.
In the words of the recipients
In 2021, the club has chosen four recipients.
Elisa Quinones of North Kingstown is a second year recipient. She is enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Rhode Island. The Covid-19 pandemic reinforced her desire to become a pharmacist as it showed the positive effect pharmacists can have during a public health crisis.
Corrine Perrin, of Hope Valley, is attending Rhode Island College for a nursing degree. She has worked as a practical nurse for more than ten years, more than five of them at South County Hospital.
“I’ve always loved helping people and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty,” she says. The pandemic, while frightening for the healthcare worker, has heightened their passion for nursing, she added.
Alexandra Wilson, of Hope Valley, is pursuing two degrees at Rhode Island College, a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public and professional communications and another in marketing and general management.
Her goal after graduation is to work for a nonprofit whose mission is to help others, she said.
Britney Naylor of Narragansett, has received eyelash certification and hopes to continue the course by adding nail technology certification and perhaps one day opening her own salon, she said. She likes to make people happy and says new looks, including small lash changes, can boost both happiness and confidence.
Former recipient Callie-Rae Cashin said: “Since my brother passed away when I was just 10, working in emergency medicine has been my thing. I want to be the smiling face on the other side when emergency victims are rescued.
Another former winner, Becky Bome, added, “My children inspire me every day to keep climbing and rising out of poverty and growing personally, regardless of the obstacles.”
Selena Millard was looking for a new direction in her life. This scholarship helped her find him, she says.
“I now believe I have something to contribute to women struggling with mental health issues, homelessness, addictions and abusive relationships. I am forever grateful to the generous women of South County. Thank you for believing in me,” Millard said.
Help for women
Daily Capital, a newsletter of capitalpersonnel.com which offers financial advice, explored the need for women to have financial assistance.
“Early on in their careers, women face greater challenges than men when it comes to career advancement and wealth accumulation. They are more likely to be undervalued and have their work undervalued – as evidenced by the pay gap – which leads to them being denied promotions and raises more often than men,” a- he declared.
Finding advocates can be difficult, said Ruzwana Bashir, CEO and Founder of Peek.com and one of Personal Capital’s financial heroes.
“We see systemic situations and societal issues that we are trying to address now. Over time, we will change expectations and ensure that women break through glass ceilings in all sectors,” she said,
Logan said more community groups, such as Crossroads in North Kingstown, are joining the women’s club to help raise awareness of this scholarship and what it can do for those in need.
“We find that our relationship with community organizations helps with mentoring,” she added.
Other sources for everyone
Additionally, during this peak planning time to find help pursuing higher education – and for younger men and women beginning this journey – RIScholarships.org can be a resource.
It lists over 400 interested organizations and individuals offering various forms of assistance, ranging from $50,000 to $500, to eligible applicants. Last year, more than 3,300 parents and students used RIScholarship.org to help them finance their higher education expenses.
“The more scholarships there are, the less they have to borrow and the less likely they are to have financial problems. It’s as simple as that,” said Authority Director and longtime South Kingstown resident Charles Kelley.
“We don’t just want students to know this to research, we try to encourage people to create a scholarship” whether it’s in memory of someone, for a cause, or just for the reason they want help, Kelley said in a recent interview.
A hunt for money can be elusive except for the diligent student or parent who will comb through many lists, say experts who have studied how students and parents find scholarships. The search begins with both the availability and number of people or organizations willing to lend a hand to students in need.
The need for scholarships is an important complement to additional forms of aid, including loans, grants and work-study programs, according to a study by the independent National Center for Education Statistics.
The most recent report on some findings regarding student financial aid is for the 2017-2018 academic year. It involved undergraduate and graduate students enrolled anytime between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 at institutions eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs.
He said 70% of all undergraduate students receive financial aid, of which 62% receive scholarships, 39% student loans, 7% receive work-study grants, 3% federal alumni education benefits fighters and 5% had relatives who had taken Federal Loans Direct PLUS.
Among undergraduate students who received aid, the average total amount received was $13,000.
The average scholarship amount was $8,300 and the average student loan amount was $6,800. Work-study students received an average of $2,500. Students on federal Veterans Education Benefits received an average of $15,200. Parents of undergraduate students borrowed an average of $15,100 in Federal Direct PLUS loans.
Education experts said these numbers confirm the need for continued financial assistance due to the persistently high costs of a college education or other job training. Scholarships like the Women’s Club of South County among other private organizations as well as the gateway to others through RIScholarships.org are critical.
“All of that basically means self-reliance, getting on with life and growing,” Logan of the women’s club said.