The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee has awarded a $12,250 grant to Tusculum College for a first generation college student mentoring program, The Women’s Search for Success and Self-Sufficiency program.
The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee will provide funding for the program to assist low-income, high school, first-generation college women to complete high school, enroll in college and then complete a college degree. Funding will provide for 18 rising freshmen, sophomore and junior high school women to attend a five-day, residential institute at Tusculum College.
Students from Carter, Cocke, Greene and Unicoi counties will be eligible.
“Since we began making grants four years ago, the Women’s Fund has made 23 grant awards totaling more than $300,000 to 16 deserving organizations serving all 25 counties in our service region,” said Judy Ingala, chair of the Women’s Fund of East Tenenssee Grants and Research Committee.
“We not only believe in providing financial support, but also want to shine the light on Tusculum College to help raise awareness, create publicity and new volunteer opportunities for this great community organization.”
Tusculum College is working with its Talent Search program to expand the Women’s Search for Success and Self-Sufficiency program, now in its third year. The Talent Search program seeks to empower underrepresented participants with the tools to achieve academic and personal success. The program accomplishes this goal through interventions to assist low-income and first-generation participants to finish high school, enter, and complete a program of post-secondary education.
The goal of the Women’s Search for Success and Self-Sufficiency program is to help girls in East Tennessee learn various life, education, and work-related skills. Various workshops are implemented to instruct participants in areas such as financial literacy, basic social skills, cognitive skills, job- and college-searching, basic employment skills and employment transitions.
Talent Search professional staff, Arts Outreach staff, Tusculum College’s Financial Aid and Career Services staff, Student Support Services, area financial advisors, etiquette coaches, hair and make-up specialists, health department officials and law enforcement officials will conduct the workshops training and activities.
“Tusculum College has a long history of serving first generation college students and that commitment is stronger than ever with the establishment of our summer institute,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College.
According to Dr. Moody, 75 percent of Tusculum College students call Appalachia home, 46 percent are the first in their family to attend college and 66 percent are Pell Grant eligible, the students with the greatest financial need.
“These students need the mentoring and support a small college like Tusculum can provide,” said Moody.
Jeanne Stokes, director of the TRIO programs and coordinator of the Women’s Search for Success and Self-Sufficiency program said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce our students to different career options, teambuilding activities and cultural enrichment. We plan for the students to leave with a sense of self- sufficiency that will enable them to be successful as they complete high school and enter and complete college.”
Because of the partnership with the Talent Search program, participants in the Women’s Search for Success and Self-Sufficiency will continue to be mentored, monitored, and guided throughout high school and college by professional staff and identified mentors. Skill attainments will be measured utilizing pre- and post-tests. A pre-test will be administered at the beginning of the summer institute and a post-test and the end of the week-long institute. Items on the test will cover topics including personal appearance and hygiene, personal safety, leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills, and financial literacy.
For more information or to donate to the Women’s Fund, visit www.womensfundetn.org or call 865-524-1223.
From left are Michelle Arbogast, associate director of foundation and donor relations at Tusculum College, Jessica Broyles, Sydnee McLaughlin, Mikenzie Rednour, Alexandra Reynoso, Madison Cole, Adrianna Aldrich, Judy Ingala, Women's Fund of East Tennessee Board Member, Heather Tunnell, assistant director of Talent Search at Tusculum College, Cynthia Burnley, Women's Fund of East Tennessee Board Member, Nita Summers, Women's Fund of East Tennessee Board Member, Courtney Workman, Megan Keasling, Brooke Woods, BreAnna Crawford, Vanessa Dubberly, Abigaile White, Brianna Johnson and Hannah Smith.