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Light House Women Overcome Hurdles to College Success

Alex Bickford

Written by Alex Bickfordon March 20th, 2012

I joined College Coach as part of the college financing team from the education finance department of Citizens Bank. Before my stint with Citizens, I worked as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Southern New Hampshire University. I've spent most of my professional career working in financial aid and have assisted traditional undergraduate, adult learners and master’s degree students in financing their educations. I have a master’s degree in business education, a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, and an associate’s degree in culinary arts.
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Alex Bickford Recently, my colleague, Marj Southworth, and I met with 25 residents of the Light House, a maternity home in Kansas City providing comprehensive care for young women facing unplanned pregnancies.  Ranging in age from 14 to 30, the women we met were all in different stages of their educational careers. Our goals for the trip, outside of providing individualized educational counseling sessions for program residents, were to discuss educational goals, present ways to make them work financially, and to talk about avenues for success in college. We received many inspiring updates from several young women whom we had counseled in past visits.  One past resident, we’ll call her “Joan,” received a full scholarship to a private college for nursing.  She had just completed her sophomore year and was finished with her core classes.  Since then, she has started taking her nursing courses and is doing quite well. We also caught up with “Stephanie,” a young woman we had met just a few months back.  We had assisted with her applying to the local community college and helped her find financing for a nursing program.  She is now in her second semester and feeling very confident.  I was so glad to see how she had grown from a scared young woman to a true student, one who was able to pass math — a class she swore she would never be able to understand.  She was deservedly proud of how hard she had worked for her grade.  This semester she is taking public speaking, something I could have never seen her do just a few months back.  She was telling me about the 4 different speeches she will have to give and how her first one had gone.  Stephanie is getting her education paid for through the Pell Grant Program, and even has enough money left over for books and supplies! Joan and Stephanie’s stories are just two of the many we hear every year in the Light House’s ongoing effort to improve the lives of young women and their children.  It’s been inspiring to see women who, despite facing some pretty steep hurdles, are pursuing education as a means to a better life for both themselves and their children.  A round of praise to these women for making educational attainment seem that much more possible through their examples of hard work, and dedication to set goals!   201204_contact


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