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August 28, 2018
Since its inception, the WomenGive program of United Way of Larimer County has been a platform for women to empower other women by providing childcare scholarships to single mothers pursuing their college degree. However, an estimated 4,272 females in Larimer County do not have the high school diploma needed to achieve a higher degree.
Of these women, those who are single mothers face formidable barriers as current childcare costs average $15,600 per year for full-time infant care, which exceeds the median annual earning for female residents without a high school diploma ($13,590).
Thus, when the opportunity arose for WomenGive to expand its programmatic funding to support single mothers pursuing their high school education and a postsecondary certificate program through the Women in College Project, there was little debate.
“WomenGive has long been a critical program in our focus areas of Youth & Education and Financial Stability,” said Annie Davies, President and CEO of United Way of Larimer County. “By supporting the Women in College Project at Front Range Community College, we ensure that more single mothers receive the support they need to achieve self-sufficiency, and that their children receive quality early childhood education while they go to school.”
The Women in College Project is a concurrent enrollment program that provides single mothers with the opportunity to complete their high school equivalency and begin coursework toward a Career & Technical Education Certificate at Front Range Community College.
“Single mothers who do not have a high school diploma find themselves in an almost impossible situation,” said Margie Wagner, Director of the Front Range Community College Center for Adult Learning. “Lack of a basic education makes it difficult to find work that pays a sustainable wage. Without additional resources, they are unable to afford childcare to obtain the education they need to improve their circumstances. The Women in College Project makes it possible for single moms to obtain a High School Equivalency degree and begin their post-secondary training at the same time.”
This expanded partnership goes beyond the traditional WomenGive model, providing enhanced support for program participants in an effort to eliminate the barriers to a diploma. In addition to childcare assistance, WomenGive funding will provide scholarships that cover the cost of tuition and fees for up to six credits per year, textbooks and academic supplies. Additionally, participants will receive regular meetings with Front Range’s Single Parent Advisor, one-on-one academic tutoring, discounted bus passes and access to the campus food bank.
A total of five women will be supported through the Women in College Project, which began this fall. Once participants complete their high school equivalency, they will be coached to apply for federal financial aid and scholarships available to first-time college students to complete their certificate program. They will continue to work with local advisors and have access to support through the traditional WomenGive program.
One of the best ways Executive Directors can serve their organization, mission, Board, staff, volunteers, and customers is to be constantly challenging themselves and learning. To help do so, United Way of Larimer County is offering this low cost, high impact executive-level training and coaching this winter at The Community Impact Center.
Our trainer, Maro Zagoras, has trained some of the largest nonprofits in the country in her 30 years of professional experience. As a Fort Collins resident, she is excited about offering this premier training to organizational leaders making a difference in our community.
There are 25 spots for highly motivated nonprofit Executive Directors.
The total investment of 3 half-day trainings and peer support: $75 per E.D. to cover refreshments, lunch, and course materials. United Way of Larimer County is underwriting this training.
“I found myself looking at my calendar each month for when I got to go to the next training. The support for me personally was critical.” - Donna
"Maro translates complex theory down to practical, usable examples that are critically important to NPO leadership. She does it with humor, patience, and on neutral ground." - Cheryl
"This training program provided an incredible framework and support structure for better understanding my own leadership skills and potential. Maro's facilitation skills, sense of humor, and obvious depth of knowledge encouraged me to move forward with renewed enthusiasm and a strong sense of my abilities. What I learned from Maro, formally and informally, has aided me in both my work and career decisions. Thumbs up for Maro." - John
"'Working with Maro is an enriching, productive and fun experience. She is a true pro that keeps groups on task to achieve outcomes while creating space, energy and an atmosphere of inspiration and comfort that promotes growth. She has a real talent at making each and every person she works with feel important, worthy and talented and uses their strengths to help them find solutions." - Abbie
“When I was selected last year to be part of the Leaders Forum, I did not know what it was all about nor was I sure what benefit I would have from attending. Once selected, I got many surveys asking about what I knew and what I’d like to learn about. I met with Maro who is such a genuine person and showed true interest in helping not only my organization but myself as its leader. As the months went by, our group grew in knowledge and also a bond formed with the other attendees. Maro started empowering us to teach, share and practice within the safety of our group. Now a year later, I look back at the Leaders Forum as a huge success. I not only gained skills and knowledge but I gained friendship, accountability partners, other ED’s I can call on and call on me!” - Jon
“This training is incredibly valuable…
Add to that, I have made friends and become more open and comfortable where I wasn’t before. I remember looking around the room my first day and thinking, ‘I don’t belong here, all these folks have it together and I don’t have any idea what I am doing’ however, now I think ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, but at least no one else does either!’ Kidding aside, this will be one of the best personal and professional experiences you will ever have.” - Ashleigh
"Maro is always willing to better understand the needs and challenges that this community’s non-profit leaders have and she finds ways to help them! Maro's passion for what she does clearly shows in the quality of her work and in her efforts to help strengthen the local non- profit community and their leaders."- Kristi
“The incredible experience and expertise of Maro Zagoras in our meetings is beyond anything I could have expected. Maro is one of the most influential actors in my new career. Maro created a judgement-free zone where E.D.s can share their challenges and get support.” - David
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