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 16 extraordinary moms for the 2018-19 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 80% – much higher than the national average for non-traditional students.
By May 2020, 59 ANSWER moms had earned their college degrees. Some have even gone on seek master’s degrees. In our 2019 survey, alumnae reported a 32% increase in salary since earning their degree.
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 2021, we hope to award scholarships to 25 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.
So much has happened in our first years of ANSWER. We can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring. Once a woman experiences the power of education in her life, she never goes back!
Founder, ANSWER Scholarship