Thousands of dollars awarded to single moms working towards their education

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 3:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Six local mothers have been awarded a total of $65,000 because of the “Women Rise” scholarship by United Way of Richmond and Petersburg.

Under the scholarship, each woman was given enough money to cover the cost of child care at a facility of their choice while they pursue their professional dreams. It differed from woman to woman, but Sheryl Harvey said it has made a world of difference.

“Child care is extremely expensive, just covering that alone makes my head spin,” Harvey said.

Harvey is one of the six women to be accepted into the scholarship. She is working towards her CNA license and has been working as a Care Partner with VCU Health for the last nine years. However, her dream was put on hold once she became pregnant.

“I really needed to focus on myself and my child, but I always knew that I would be back,” Harvey said. “My kids give me the strength to continue on, but it is definitely a lot of work.”

Already, Harvey has won ‘Care Partner of the Year’ at her job and is expected to graduate and become a nurse. Sammie McCabe, with United Way, said it’s women like Sheryl that make the program so impactful.

“We saw the need with women and workforce development was such a huge issue that we wanted to create a program, one that specifically for women and for single mothers,” McCabe said.

In the Richmond area, one in three women has an income below the poverty threshold. By giving scholarships to women who have put their educations on hold, United Way hopes it will affect generations of Virginians to have doors open to them previously closed.

“Helping women helps an entire community,” said McCabe. “I believe we can and will continue to make a difference, so long as there is a need in our community.”

United Way said it will accept more applications for a fall selection of scholarships. To learn more information about the program, click HERE.

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