United Way Women's Leadership providing child care scholarships to those in need

Scholarship helps parent pursue educational goals

SAN ANTONIO – The United Way Women's Leadership Council is offering child care scholarships to people who want to make an investment in their future.

Amy Martinez has three children and has been a child care scholarship recipient since 2013. She said, with this help, she has been able to complete three associate degrees, all with a 4.0 grade point average.

"I am now a senior at Texas A&M here in San Antonio," Martinez said. "I'll be completing my degree in biology, with a minor in sociology, next spring."

The scholarship provides financial assistance for child care to parents who are going back to school to get their degree, or who are finishing certification or job training.

"We're just inspired by their energy and their ambition," said Laura Vaccaro, Women's Leadership Council chairperson. "We're so excited that we are able to remove the small barrier as we watch them grow and finish their degrees."

"It's very important, because whenever we go to school, we need to know that our children are in a safe, healthy environment, which is educationally stimulating," Martinez said. 

Since the program started three years ago, the Women's Leadership Council has awarded 114 scholarships.

"For many of these families, these are first-generation degree seekers," Vaccaro said. "And we're ending that cycle of poverty for many, many families. I think the lasting impact for that is, years to come, these kids are seeing their parents graduate, get a job and pursue financial stability."

For parents like Martinez, it's one less thing to worry about, while having the chance to chase their dreams.

"I hope to specialize in oral surgery," Martinez said. "In the future, my dream is to become part of Operation Smile, which provides free oral surgery for children around the globe who suffer from cleft palate."

Last year, the Women's Leadership Council awarded about 33 scholarships, and it is planning to award the same number this year.

For more information about the program, visit http://www.unitedwaysatx.org/wlc/.

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 3. 

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