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Single parents earn Women’s Club scholarships

May 22, 2019
By MELISSA BILL (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Paying for college just got a little easier for some local parents, thanks to the General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres.

The organization held its scholarship awards ceremony on Friday, presenting six single parents who are returning to school with $1,250 scholarships.

This is an annual event held by the local organization, with all scholarship monies being derived from the members' fundraising initiatives throughout the year.

Article Photos

Special award recipient Melissa Welsh with fashion show head Betty Walsh.

PHOTO PROVIDED

Excited scholarship recipients were in attendance with their family and friends. This year's recipients included: Melissa Welch, Tiffany Smith, Sheena Ruffin, Shemika Haynes, Emily Sparks and Marcia Waithe.

This year's scholarship committee included scholarship chairman Harriet Metzler, Sue Thompson, Glenda Turner and Karen Geckler.

Geckler made opening comments and thanked everyone involved for their hard work.

"So proud of the work that this club has done this year," Geckler said.

The General Women's Club of Lehigh has given scholarships for more than 30 years, which has helped countless single parents achieve their dreams of higher education. Prior to 2009, the scholarships were awarded to high school students.

According to Geckler, to date, the sum of the scholarships awarded comes to $103,500.

"This year will be our largest scholarship awards to date. Today we are presenting each recipient with a certificate and the scholarship checks have been mailed to each school," Geckler said.

For recipient Tiffany Smith, who is currently attending Florida Southwestern State College, this allows her to get one step closer to her dream of becoming an RN and possibly working in labor/delivery or pediatrics someday.

According to recipient Shemika Haynes, who is attending Rasmussen College, winning the scholarship confirms she is on the right path.

"I was shocked when I got the call. This can really help me in my pursuit of a degree in Health Information Technology, so I can better provide for my kids," Haynes said.

Pursuing a career in health care has a special meaning to Emily Sparks as well.

"My son is disabled. I also lost a child, and almost my own life during delivery. I had amazing nurse who took care of me in the hospital. She was a very nice person and stayed with me throughout everything. It was right then and there that I knew I wanted to become a nurse," Sparks said.

The women's club also awarded a special scholarship to Melissa Welch during the luncheon. The scholarship was in the memory of Barbara Eckenroth who received a scholarship from the club years ago to pursue her teaching degree.

Welch is presently attending Florida Southwestern State College and volunteers her time at Lehigh Elementary.

"I would like to teach grades K through second. I really want to reach children when they are young and give them a positive educational experience. One that will stick with them throughout their lives," Welch said.

The General Women's Club also awarded several philanthropic gifts to local organization's including Hope Hospice and Rainbow Trails; Lehigh Acres Senior Center, Lehigh Acres Community Center and Faith Lutheran Church and the Children's Village preschool.

GWC holds numerous fundraisers throughout the year to enable the funding of the awards. One of the largest fundraisers is their fashion show held each spring, which draws more than 200 members of the community. The club also hosts a silent auction, two quarter auctions, a tea party and several other events that aid in helping to raise money.

The General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres, Inc. was organized in January of 1961 and has provided 57 years of service to the community and remains very active. The organizations theme is Working & Serving Together. For more information visit www.facebook.com/generalwomansclub

 
 

 

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