The mission of the New Opportunity School for Women, Inc. is to improve the educational, financial, and personal circumstances of low-income, middle-aged women in the Appalachian region.
The NOSW grew out of an urgent need for women in Appalachia to become better educated and employed -- women served by the NOSW share common challenges of low educational attainment, limited employment skills, few strong role models and ultimately low self-esteem. The NOSW has provided tools, resources and support to 779 graduates with the end result being women who have helped impact change for themselves and their families.
Each February and June up to 14 women participate in a 3-week residential program in Berea. There is no cost and funds for childcare and transportation are provided as needed. The program provides an intensive curriculum, health education and screenings, professional internships as well as weekend activities for cultural enrichment and civic engagement. Curriculum includes: leadership development, building self-esteem, goal setting, job search skills, computer basics, Appalachian literature appreciation, civic engagement, understanding violence against women, public speaking, how to enroll in higher education, basic math/financial management, grammar and punctuation, and expressive arts. Participants are also offered mammograms, cervical exams, and other health screenings. Additionally, to boost their confidence and better prepare them for work and school participants take part in a fashion and fun day with a visit to the NOSW clothing closet.
Follow-up services include workshops, individualized support and guidance, funding for dental work, and educational scholarships. Outreach programs are offered on topics such as career and job search skills, leadership skills, self-esteem, and computer skills. The NOSW also partners with a wide variety of social service organizations and community resources to help graduates maintain networks of support. The NOSW is increasing its emphasis on graduate development and is in the development stages of designing a follow-up session for graduates who may need an additional “boost” to reach their goals.
Your Donation Matters
The NOSW began with the simple desire to help women find the power within to transform their lives. The NOSW has changed the lives of not only our graduates, but of their families and their communities.
Statistics Worth Noting
· Over 800 women have graduated from the combined NOSW programs in Berea, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee since 1987;
· Historically, 79% of NOSW graduate survey respondents have reported that they are employed, in school, or both; and 80% have reported completing some form of higher/continuing education;
· 59% report that their children had continued their education after high school; and 64% report that their grandchildren had continued their education after high school;
· 76% report that their health/wellness is improved and they actively attend to their physical and mental well-being;
· 89% feel a stronger sense of self-esteem and self-reliance.
Twice annually the NOSW invites fourteen women to a three-week residential program. There is no cost to the participants and funds for childcare and transportation are provided as needed. The program provides an intensive curriculum, offers dental and health education, screenings and exams, and professional internships as well as weekend activities for cultural enrichment and civic engagement. The intensive curriculum includes: leadership development, building self-esteem, goal setting, job search skills, computer basics, Appalachian literature, understanding violence against women, public speaking, learning how to become enrolled in further education, basic math/financial management, grammar and punctuation. Participants are offered mammograms, pap smears, other health screenings, and dental exams during the program and graduates are eligible for financial support for subsequent dental care. Health education is an integral part of the program, addressing wellness and any needed medical referrals.
Beyond the residential sessions, the NOSW works actively in the Appalachian region to provide follow-up services for graduates including individualized support, funds for dental work and scholarships for higher education. Additionally, outreach programs are facilitated in many of the region's isolated communities on topics of interest such as leadership skills, career and job search skills, domestic violence, divorce recovery, self-esteem, women's health, financial aid and others. The NOSW encourages graduates to actively seek roles in their local schools, government and communities.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507