United Way helping single moms go back to school

'Mothers are building their skill set so that they can grow their earning power...'
Posted at 1:09 PM, May 06, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is looking for single mothers with childcare expenses who are going back to school.

The non-profit is currently accepting applications for their WomenRise scholarship program, which empowers single mothers to work toward a post-secondary degree or credential without the burden of childcare expenses.

In United Way’s local service area, the poverty rate for single mother families is 29.7% compared to 12.2% for single father families and 3.7% for married couple families, according to a press release.

This is the second year for the program.

“During the WomenRise pilot in 2021, United Way awarded six local single mothers a total of $65,000 in childcare scholarships. As a result of the successful pilot and additional donor support, WomenRise will expand to help 20 local moms on their road to obtaining post-secondary education or training,” the release stated.

CEO and President James Taylor said this program helps remove barriers for single mothers. He said two generations of a family are being impacted by this program in a meaningful way.

“Whereas children are being ready for Kindergarten, so that they can maximize their own educational potential. And mothers are building their skill set so that they can grow their earning power and create a positive pathway forward for mother and children,” Taylor explained.

United Way Director of Major Gifts Sammie McCabe recalled a participant who no longer was forced to work overtime to pay for her childcare.

WomenRise scholarships are available on an annual basis to local single mothers with an application process every spring. The scholarships cover the cost of direct care services per child during the time the mother is enrolled in classes or a training program. Scholarships are paid directly to the childcare provider.

This volunteer-led program is managed by members of United Way’s local Women United giving community. Women United members lead this program by fundraising, awarding scholarships, planning events and providing encouragement and support to WomenRise scholarship recipients.

In order to apply, applicants should be a single female head of household with custody of at least one child; be enrolled or have plans to enroll in an education or career training program that is at least 40 hours and that results in a degree or credential; have an annual income of $60,000 or less; reside in the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg region; and use a licensed or voluntary registered child care provider. The application period runs through May 31. United Way will announce scholarship decisions this summer.

Click here to learn more about the WomenRise program and find out how to apply.



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