For more than 30 years, the General woman's Club of Lehigh Acres has been giving away scholarships and with this year's donations, the total is well over $78,000 for those going to college.
The only rules is the winners must be a resident of Lehigh Acres. The money raised for college scholarships comes from different fundraisers put on by the General Woman's Club and especially its well-attended annual fashion show and luncheon.
This year, the club handed out $3,500 and Scholarship Committee Chairman Diane Lashua said the seven young women were single moms who are trying to attend college to get their diplomas so they can get better their lives.
The affair was a potluck dinner held at the Faith Lutheran Church a few days ago and the women's club, one of the largest in Lehigh was packed.
The seven women are all attending college and also raising children.
"These women are deserving of scholarship help. They are doing everything they can do to better themselves," Lashua said.
The scholarship committee members this year included in addition to Lashua, as chairman, Reba Money, Thelma Medley and Mary Bauer.
Prior to 2009, Lashua said scholarships were handed out to high school graduates. At that time four to five scholarships were given out each year with some years as much as $1,000 per award.
Then in 2009, Lashua said, the decision was made to grant scholarships to a single parent moms or dads who were working on their college education and also had minor children living at home.
The recipients this year included:
Sarah Denise Williams, who has two children and is attending Rasmussen College. She is enrolled in the Professional Nursing Associate of Science program and will be a registered nurse after graduation.
Elizabeth S. Torres has four children and is attending Rasmussen College, too. She is enrolled in the Medical Assistant Program and is working on her associate in arts degree as a medical assistant.
Anna Rivers has two children and is also attending Rasmussen College. She is enrolled in the Medical Assistant Program and her goal is to be a certified medical assistant with an associate's degree in science.
Alicia Diante Scott has one child and is attending Hodges University. She is enrolled in the Business Administration Degree Program. This is her first semester at Hodges and she is very excited about going back to school to continue her education.
Carla Rosier has one child and also attending Hodges University. She is pursuing a master's of science degree in Clinical Mental health Counseling. She also works full-time for the Lee County Public Safety EMS in the billing department. Her ultimate goal is to maintain a balance of client's emotions and physical health throughout care. She is interested in making a difference in people's lives every day.
Deniqua Gonzalez has one child and attends Keiser University. She is working on her associate's degree in Criminal Justice. While she is attending Keiser University, she is also working full-time job.
Victoria Howe has one child and is attending Kaplan University. She is working toward her bachelor's of science degree in psychology with an emphasis in Substance Abuse. Her plan is to earn her bachelor's degree and then work toward her master's degree in mental health counseling.
The Woman's Club, which was formed in 1961 is one of the oldest organizations in Lehigh Acres. It has also remained as one of the most active organizations in the community.
In addition to the annual fashion show, the club also has an annual card party, a silent auction, a book sale, and several other events throughout the year to raise money, not only for the scholarship awards, but also to donate money to several local charities in Lehigh. All the money raised stays in Lehigh Acres, Lashua said.
During the presentations, each young mother came up to the podium to accept her scholarship and to say where she was going to college.
"It is one of the most popular events we have during the year," Lashua said.