SAN ANTONIO - Isabell Pina was a mechanical engineering student at UTSA when she applied for United Way's Women United Childcare Scholarship Program.
"My daughter was born January 8, 2016, and school started January 12. At the time, I didn't have anywhere to take her, so she actually went to school with me," Pina said.
The single mother wanted to continue her education, but couldn't afford child care at the time.
"(I) started researching some financial assistance opportunities," Pina said.
That's when Pina found out about the scholarship program and applied.
"I was a female in a male-driven industry, and so, I think that kind of made me stand out," she said.
Pina was awarded a scholarship that helped pay for her daughter's child care.
United Way has awarded 173 scholarships that provide child care support for 270 children.
"Through the child care scholarships, it's really helping families grow within our community, help stop the cycle of poverty. So, we are just looking for people that are encouraged and eager to further their education and help their families," Brandyn Moore-Rodriguez, United Way vice president of community relations and volunteer initiatives, said.
Pina landed a job at a biomedical engineering company and hopes her story will inspire young girls to dream big.
"Once I graduate, I was able to provide for my daughter by myself," she said.
Applications are due by March 1, 2018.
Parents selected for child care scholarships must meet the following criteria:
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- Be enrolled in school or technical skills training for a minimum of 12 hours if not working, or enrolled for a minimum of six hours if working 19 or more hours weekly
- Not be enrolled in graduate school or hold a baccalaureate level degree; this scholarship is for individuals attending job training schools or earning their associate or first-time bachelor's degree
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5
- Provide referral agent for all class and/or work schedules when available, and must keep referral agent informed of changes in contact information, employment and school status
- Have demonstrated financial need
- Not qualified, or have been denied or wait-listed, for any other eligible child care assistance
- Not currently enrolled in Child Care Services subsidizes child care program
- Have a demonstrated plan for reaching his/her educational and employment goals
- Be a citizen or legal resident of the United States and a resident of Bexar County
- Be screened by a referral agent and selection committee
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