DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A rather unique college program is giving single moms a second chance at higher learning. The only university in Pennsylvania to offer it is located in Luzerne County. The program is giving graduates a purpose and a future.
“An education and knowledge is something that people cannot take away from you.” Those heartfelt words from Felicia Glover could come from just about any college graduate. But she and four of her Misericordia University classmates are no ordinary grads. They are extraordinary examples of overcoming adversity and making a college degree a reality through Misericordia’s Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program.
“This is our largest class graduating at once,” said Katherine Pohlidal who oversees the program that started at Misericordia in 2000. It allows economically disadvantaged single moms to live with their children for free on campus while studying. This special ceremony at the university’s Mercy Hall Chapel just days before graduation weekend acknowledges their accomplishments. “It’s a combination of a lot of talent and a lot of hard work that these students execute every single day in order to get to these goals,” said Ms. Pohlidal.
“Not only did I benefit from getting a degree by coming here but my children benefited by having the first stable home they ever had,” said 24-year-old Asia Thompson who is a single mom to 5-year-old Kaitlyn and a 7-year-old son, Zaire. The New Jersey native sums up her participation in the Women With Children program this way. “This program saved my life.”
Of the five graduates, two are heading into graduate school, Ms. Thompson is headed to law school and the other two are stepping right into their professional careers. Among them is 24-year-old April Lennon who after her graduation from Misericordia University will use her social work degree to work at Children’s Service Center and attend grad school. “My education is just so important to me and it’s opened up so many doors for myself and for my son.”
Removing roadblocks to higher education and entering a world of hope. The Women With Children program is one of eight nationwide. You can learn more about it and measures to support it by clicking here.