New scholarship fund aims to 'empower' single moms to finish school: 'I was so close'

'I just never thought about going back to pursue it because I've always had that barrier of childcare'
Posted at 6:24 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 18:28:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Finding success is often easier with a sturdy financial and educational foundation in place. But that can be tough for some people, particularly single mothers who are often juggling a lot of responsibilities.

Consequently, the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg is introducing the WomenRise program "to empower single mothers to complete their education or train for a better job."

Tammi James often thinks about how close she came to graduating when she studied computers at a local college years ago.
But juggling a new baby, a job and other life commitments held her back.

“I was so close to being finished,” James recalled. “I'm pretty sure I don't have a lot of credits to make up to go back to get my degree.”

Learning about the WomenRise program, which was launched to help single moms to work towards a post-secondary degree or credential without the burden of childcare expenses, is giving James renewed hope.

"That's quite a hefty bill when you're a parent, and you're a single parent trying to do things on your own and better yourself, and trying to show your child a different way," James said. "It's very difficult for a lot of parents."

James Taylor with the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg said the program will help single mothers build skills to re-enter the workforce with more qualifications so they can earn more.

"That will allow them to be in a better position to provide stability for themselves and their children,” Taylor said.

WomenRise will provide full monetary assistance to cover childcare while the mom is going to school or a training program. Scholarships that will be available annually. That is enough for James to start taking steps to finish what she started in the classroom.

“I literally don't have a lot of credits to get my degree,” James said. “I just never thought about going back to pursue it because I've always had that barrier of childcare.”

The United Way is currently seeking financial support from local donors who want to help single mothers.

Scholarship applications will open in June with the first round of childcare payments being made in August.

Click here if you would like to apply or make a donation.

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