My ambitions were modest when I began ANSWER in 2006. I thought we had hit the big time when we reached four recipients in one year.
How things have changed! ANSWER awarded college scholarships to 13 extraordinary moms for the 2016-17 school year. We are proud that our combination of college scholarships, mentoring, and professional skills development leads to success. ANSWER recipients have a graduation rate of 87% – much higher than the national average for non-traditional students.
By December 2016, 31 ANSWER moms will have earned their college degrees. More than a third have gone on to seek master’s degrees.
Many ANSWER recipients conquer significant obstacles to get an education and set an example for their children. I think of Teena Allen, a mother of two. While studying for her BSW degree at Winthrop University, she survived a painful divorce and the death of her beloved grandmother, with the most difficult events occurring the week of Allen’s final exams. Allen persevered, earning a 4.0 grade point average and the BSW Field Excellence Award from Winthrop.
Hers is one inspiring story among many. ANSWER recipients have overcome serious illnesses and financial struggles. Their strength and commitment inspires everyone involved in ANSWER.
Our ambitions for ANSWER are modest no longer. By 2020, we hope to award scholarships to 20 women each year, with an eventual goal of 50 scholarships annually. Our volunteer support has grown exponentially, making our Mentors for Mom program an essential part of what we do. Talented volunteers also lead our professional development workshops. They teach our scholars about resume writing, networking skills, professional branding and other important topics to help build careers.
ANSWER is making a tangible difference in the lives of our recipients and all nine communities we serve in North Carolina and South Carolina. For that, we have you – our donors, volunteers, and friends – to thank. Our organization has grown through donations from individuals, companies, foundations and houses of worship. This year, ANSWER officially became its own 501 c3 non-profit organization. We extend our thanks and gratitude to Foundation For The Carolinas, where we were a component fund for many years and still maintain our endowment.
So much has happened in the first decade of ANSWER. We can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring. Once a woman experiences the power of education in her life, she never goes back!
Founder, ANSWER Scholarship