Of all the Zooms we’ve attended over the last several months, one is a standout for members of the El Paso Women’s Fund board. It was the evening of Aug. 24 when we met with the fall 2020 recipients of our scholarship program to talk about the super power of resilience in an increasingly complicated world. Our guest speaker, Nicole Ferrini, the chief resilience officer for the City of El Paso, encouraged persistence and confidence in goal setting.
“Don’t wait to be ‘qualified,’ to be certified,” before taking on new challenges, she told the group. Too frequently women hesitate to put themselves forward for positions they are capable of, but may think they need outside approval to pursue. Participants then shared their own stories of resilience in smaller breakout groups and learned more about how to face adversity with hope. We talked of facing obstacles like illness, childcare issues, mental health and more.
While the scholarships are modest and by no means cover all the costs of education and childcare recipients need, WFEP board members learned that even a little bit of aid meant a lot when it is coming from women encouraging other women. Twenty four applicants received scholarships from the Womens Fund of El Paso in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,500. In all, WFEP awarded $16,400 in scholarships for the fall semester to help cover financial gaps in their pursuit of college degrees or technical training. “It means so much that the El Paso Women’s fund is investing in my success,’ one participant said. Many attendees said they feel special to be part of an organization where women are empowering other women and look forward to the day when they can give back to the community themselves.
Board members chose a theme of resilience for the online meeting in response to the added pressures affecting us all with the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, if you read our blog post to get to know some of our scholarship recipients you’ll see that they are already fiercely determined to complete their education and bring a better life to themselves and their families. Now they move forward knowing the board members of the El Paso Women’s Fund, along with all of our dedicated donors and volunteers, are cheering them on to the finish line.