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Woman's Club scholarships: Mothers receive college money

来源:Lehigh Acres Citizen作者:MEL TOADVINE 

The highlight of the annual meeting of the General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres was the presentations of eight college scholarships, presented at the special luncheon held at Faith Community Church.

The club has presented scholarships for more than 30 years to the tune of more than $86,000 to Lehigh Acres residents, according to Diane Lashua, chairman of the Scholarship Committee.

She said that prior to 2009, scholarships were given out to high school graduates. At that time, four to five scholarships were presented each year with some years as much as $1,000 per award.

MEL TOADVINE Diane Lashua, left, chairman of the Scholarship Committee of the General Woman’s Club of Lehigh Acres, presented scholarships to eight working others to help them pay for their college educations. The scholarship winners are Madeline Ramirez, Ashley King, Kristina Preshard, Krystal Anderson, Sandra L. Allen, and Blanca Barrios. Not in photo were Sheena Ruffin and Teresa Sankey.


"Then in 2009, the decision was made to grant scholarships to a single parent that was working on his or her college education and also had minor children living at home.

"This year we were able to give back to the community by giving eight scholarships to Lehigh Acres residents.

The money comes from the Woman's Club's many fundraisers to enable the funding of the awards to show their support for single mothers or fathers going back to school to make a better life for their children," Lashua said.

“The largest fundraiser is the annual Fashion Show held each spring and draws more than 170 local residents. This event was held May 20 at Faith Lutheran Church.

"The people attending are able to enjoy checking out the latest fashions as well as enjoying a great lunch with a raffle going on throughout the event," she said.

The club also has an annual card party, a silent auction, a book sale, a tea party and several other events throughout the year to raise money, not only for the scholarship awards, but also to donate money to the local charities in Lehigh.

"All the money raised stays in Lehigh Acres," Lashua said.

While she was chairman of the Scholarship Committee, others working with her were Norma Johnson, Sandi Jones, Karen McKenzie and Mary Beck.

In addition to the several fundraisers the club also collects soda tabs for the Ronald McDonald House and they collect manufacturer's coupons for the veterans and they collect can goods during the holidays and give the food to Lehigh Community Services.

In addition, they collect eye glasses for the Lions Club and they donate to several Lehigh charities.

"This is a great example of how people living in the same community can work together to help others," Lashua said.

The General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres was organized in January of 1961 and it became incorporated in 1963.

"We've been here for more than 55 years giving service to the community and we're still very active," Lashua said.

The theme for the General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres is Working and Serving Together.

The eight women who were given scholarships are all attending college, are raising children and are working to make a better life for their family.

They included:

- Madeline Ramirez, who is attending Keiser University and has twin 6-year-old boys and two older boys. She has decided to become a registered neonatal nurse. She decided to go back to college to pursue a career where she can be of more assistance to her boys.

- Ashley King is attending Keiser University and she is enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program. She has a 5-year-old daughter.

- Sheena Ruffin is attending Fort Myers Technical College in the practical nursing field. She is the mother of three young children. Once she graduates, her plan is to continue on to the registered nursing program.

- Kristina Preshard is attending Fort Myers Technical College in the Licensed Practical Nursing Program. She has two boys and also works in a part-time job. Her intention is to continue her education after graduating from FMTC in October.

- Teresa Sankey is attending Fort Myers Technical College in the Web Development and Programming Program. She is the mother of two children. Her plan is to start an affordable online advertising business targeted at small business owners.

- Krystal C. Anderson is attending Southern Technical College in the Criminal Justice program. She will continue on with her bachelor of science degree in Public Service Administration. She is the mother of two children. She has also been a member of the U.S. Army National Guard for six years.

- Sandra L. Allen is attending Chamberlain College of Nursing in the Family Nurse Practioner graduate degree. She is the mother of two children. Her career goal is to work as a Family Nurse Practitioner in the underserved areas of Lee County where she lives.

- Blanca Barrios is attending Florida Gulf Coast University and is the mother of two boys. She is enrolled in the educational field and is taking full-time classes. She will have a bachelor's in child and youth studies degree in the fall of 2016. She is granted this award in memory of Florence E. Keller, who was a supporter of education and a member of the woman's club.