All posts tagged: molly berg
Community Pillar Award goes to JRF supporter
Joyce Waller, Director of Material Services at Athens Regional Medical Center (ARMC), was recently honored with the Shelby J. Lacy Community Pillar Award. She received the award in recognition of her selfless and substantial contributions of time and talent to the ARMC community.
As recipient of the award, Joyce had the opportunity to donate $500 to the charity of her choice and she chose JRF! Joyce has consistently supported the organization for 13 years, beginning when she first moved to Athens.
“I saw a newspaper article requesting help reviewing applications,” Joyce says. “I truly fell in love with the mission of JRF.”
Joyce continues to spend time each year helping with scholar selection and rallying others at ARMC to donate the ARMC Staff Award. A strong voice in the community, Joyce is an advocate for women's education and the support JRF provides to its scholars.
“Assisting with an individual’s education not only helps the individual, but instills the knowledge in the family/children of the individual, that education is a means to move ahead economically and socially,” she says. “JRF opens doors for our recipients. So many of our applicants have no support system. JRF becomes the support system.”
In addition to volunteering at JRF, Joyce is also the board chair of Children First and a volunteer for the Master Gardener program, the Catholic Center and Adopt A Highway for Athens Clarke County. The Shelby J. Lacy Community Pillar Award is given in recognition of Shelby J. Lacy, a retired long-time employee of the Athens Regional Health Services who dedicated her life to the betterment of the community.
A hearty congratulations and thank you to Joyce!
Celebrating International Women’s Day
March 8 may not seem like a particularly special day. But to those who know it as International Women’s Day, it symbolizes how far women have come in the quest for gender equality.
Compared to other holidays, International Women’s Day is relatively new. It was created in the early 1900s during a period of oppression and inequality for women. Unhappy with their status in society, women began demanding voting rights and better pay for their work. In 1909, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the United States. Eleven years later, women would be granted the right to vote with the 19th amendment.
International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in countries all over the world including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Ukraine, Russia and Zambia. Many celebrate this holiday by giving gifts to the important women in their lives, like many do on Mother’s Day.
The United Nations joins in by announcing a theme for each year that highlights specific a issue. This year’s theme is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The theme is sponsored by the UNITE campaign, which is led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable,” said Ban Ki-moon.
Many Jeannette Rankin Fund scholars have faced the horrors of domestic violence and challenges that accompany it, like being single parents and sole providers for their families. Through their strength and determination, they now inspire other women to pursue better lives.
Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to low-income women ages 35 and older who have a vision of how their education will better themselves and the community. Education is critical in finding opportunities in the work force, especially for women seeking better pay and working conditions.
Join the cause and make a difference this International Women’s Day! UNITE by participating in International Women’s Day events and honoring special women in your life with a donation to Jeannette Rankin Fund.
What are your plans for March 8th? Share with us in the comments below.
The move to massive online classes
Interested in taking a free course from a nationally-recognized professor? You can through the increasingly popular massive open online courses, or MOOCs for short. MOOCs are online courses that allow a large number of participants to take a course for free. Distance education has grown in popularity over the last few years and from that, MOOCs were born.
However, MOOCs are not quite the same as an online class you’d pay for through a college. MOOCs often do not offer credit; instead the institution might mail you a certificate for completing the course. It can also entitle you to bragging rights. Who wouldn’t want to say they’ve taken a class from an Ivy League school? Although the courses are free, and can be done anywhere with internet, many struggle to complete them.
Right now, I’m pursuing my undergraduate degrees at the University of Georgia. For most of my life I’ve been in school and I enjoy the structure of classes and assignments. However, I won’t take a MOOC until I graduate and finish my current course work. I plan to enter the work force full-time when I leave UGA, but if free MOOCs are still available, I will likely end up taking one to get a certificate.
With MOOCs, there’s really nothing to lose. For no cost, you can take classes from widely acclaimed professors and learn valuable information. The classes are also a nice addition to your resume!
What do you think? Would you take a MOOC for free? Or would the lack of structure and credit keep you from pursuing it? Share your comments below. For more information click here.
JRF alumna publishes book
JRF scholar alumna Valerie recently published a book called Raising Amazing Grace…and Tyler, and Megan, a guide for single parents raising young children. The book was inspired by Valerie’s work as a counselor and her experience raising her sons, now ages 15 and 17.
Though the book was recently published, Valerie began her writing career a decade ago, with one of her boys in kindergarten. While he was at school, she joined a writing group where members would share stories and get feedback. Over the years, the group continued to meet and write together. As Valerie collected more of her writing pieces, she soon realized that they were all about parenting.
With the support of her friends, Valerie decided to compile a book made up of her parenting articles. Valerie met with several publishers and soon found National Writers Press, a publishing company that offered her a book contract. Published in January 2013, Valerie’s book is now available for order.
In addition to the completion of her novel, Valerie has her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and her master’s degree in Community Counseling. She works as a counselor in her community, specializing in adolescent counseling. “I enjoy being a person that people feel comfortable talking to,” she says. “My passion is helping young people feel like they have value.”
Valerie credits JRF with helping her pursue her bachelor’s degree. “My experience with JRF was so positive,” she says. “They were so encouraging. To find an organization that supports people like me helped me change my life.”
When Valerie isn’t counseling or spending time with her children, she also blogs and maintains a website. Her website, Parents Village, is designed for people who are co-parenting. Through the website, parents and guardians can share information about the child in a safe and confidential format.
As a mother, counselor, and author, Valerie wears many hats. JRF scholars like her inspire others to take the initiative and pursue their dream career.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments, Valerie!
Changes to Pell Grant harm college students, potentially causing drop in enrollment
For the first time in 15 years, college enrollment has dropped. Between fall of 2010 and fall of 2011, there was a decrease in over 34,000 enrolled students. Colleges in the country have seen these drops, in part, due to new Pell eligibility guidelines. The changes were a cost cutting method because the program had doubled in size in only four years due to an increase in recipients and award amounts.
To offset expenses, the program changed the guidelines for eligibility. The guidelines now include fewer semesters of eligibility, no summer grants and a lower income cap. Many low-income students struggle financially and must borrow substantially more money to cover tuition, books and fees. Others are discouraged from even enrolling due to high tuition costs without the help of Pell.
Those affected include JRF scholars like LaTrena. In 2011, we covered the effects of changing Pell eligibility in this way. In an interview, LaTrena discusses the importance of the JRF scholarship, especially during this time.
In 2013, JRF will award more scholarships than ever – 87! There are so many who need help changing their lives through education, and donors are making it possible.
However, there are still plenty of students that need support! In the future, we hope that there will be Pell grant reforms that take away barriers that disproportionately impact nontraditional students. Read more here. What do you see in the future for Pell grants?