Louisville program helps single women with children get an education - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville program helps single women with children get an education

It's a universal problem -- single women with children struggling to survive on low-paying jobs.

A Louisville program that gives such women a second chance is getting international attention.

13 years ago, a new organization named Project Women set out to prove that single mothers were not lazy or stupid -- and that, with proper support, they could return to school and obtain an education that would lead to a good-paying, satisfying career.

Jason Dailey of CARS Ministry says, "We do what we can and get 'em road-ready and get 'em up and going and help somebody out."

After months of waiting for buses and begging rides, Shamika Adams and LaTanya Bass became car owners on Monday.

LaTanya Bass, a Project Women participant, says, "I don't know how I could have gotten to this point, as far as my education, if it hadn't been for Project Women."

Transportation is just the latest way Project Women has helped Adams and Bass.  The organization is also paying for nursing classes, academic advisors, housing, and daycare.

Director of Project Women, Cathe Dykstra, explains, "So many people are focused on work, just making ends meet.  You have to take a time out and get the education that leads to career track employment, and we've been able to support families in doing that.

After 13 years of quietly doing good deeds like that, next month Project Women will its next big step forward.  It will begin opening its new campus right next to U of L.

The $13 million Family Scholar House will offer 59 apartments for Project Women participants.  A daycare facility and an academic service building will also be part of the campus.

Director Cathe Dykstra says providing housing is the key to success.  "I've had so many families say, if you gave me the opportunity to get an education, but I don't know where my children are going to sleep tonight, I can't do it."

And participant Shamika Adams says, "I'll be moving in a couple of weeks.  I'm very excited about that.  We'll have washers and dryers.  There's a wonderful child facility that's going to be on site. It's just excellent."

The idea for Project Women came from a group of Louisville nuns and is attracting national and international interest because it has been successful.

Over the years, 23 of 83-participants have earned degrees.  Others are still studying or learned skills that have led to good-paying jobs and stable family lives.

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