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College GO Fund

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For two decades the Women a Color Giving Circle, and later on the Rites of Passage Empowerment Program (ROPE), has helped young women of color in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, achieve the goal of higher education. We are proud to share that ROPE members have a 100 percent high school graduation rate and 90 parent college attendance rate.

This work has not been easy, and in these uncertain time,  it is even harder for some of our girls from under-resourced backgrounds. 

Tuition fees are high and rising. Loans are prohibitive. And sometimes, once there, the girls experience difficulties such as food insecurity, lack of housing or transportation.  This makes it hard for them to stay.

As we continue this work during this time, we are finding that the burden of financial costs is overwhelming for many of these incredible young women. 

We ask for your help in enabling bright, motivated, warm hearted and dedicated students achieve their dream of college. We are seeking to raise $30,000.00.
Every gift – every dollar – will make a difference.
Your help will provide support for 8 young women accepted into university this year, enabling them to meet their tuition needs and sustain their capacity to attend.
We are so grateful for your consideration.

Just a bit of history: a few years after founding the Women of Color Giving Circle, Shirley Edgerton created the Rites of Passage and Empowerment program in 2010, after recognizing the need for adolescent girls to develop their voice and inner selves in a single-sex, mentorship-based setting. Intentionally providing opportunities to interact with professional women of color resonated with her as a way to ease young women’s transition into adulthood in a nurturing, supportive and inspiring environment.
Research supports this:  for a black girl, having one black teacher increases the likelihood of her attending college.
The mission of ROPE is to celebrate and support adolescent girls as they grow into young women and provide them with the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful, independent and responsible women. 

And through ROPE, dreams of college became possible.

The ROPE high school students meet monthly with a variety of experienced professionals, some whom are ROPE alumni, to participate in classes focused on exploring self-worth, building self-esteem, and developing interests, skills, resilience, and cultural competence. The groups study women’s history and the arts, attending lectures and art performances. There is an emphasis on college awareness, college prep and college tours. Internships around the county increase participants’ exposure to career opportunities, and several ROPE members act as mentors themselves in STEM programs at two elementary and one middle school. A deep investment in both service-learning and cultural exploration culminates in bi-annual mission trips to Africa.
This program is successful. The young women of ROPE graduate from high school. The young women of ROPE steer clear around teen pregnancy, substance use and other problems that are persistent in their communities. And the young women of ROPE go to college. This transition to higher learning is often a first for their families, so ROPE tracks and holds its graduates, too, supporting them emotionally and financially as they complete their studies. Support and engagement continue after college graduation, as well, with a network of connections for entry into the world of work. One recent alumna, Anita, is the assistant manager at our regional airport. Nyanna, is an aide to Senator Elizabeth Warren; another, Keina, is immersed in an internship with social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, founder/director of Equal Justice Initiative. Numerous other graduates are contributing citizens in key positions, making a difference in their communities.  
Please reach out to us with any questions about this program and our work.
The Women of Color Giving Circle.

Organizzatore e beneficiario

Maria Sirois
Pittsfield, MA
Maria Sirois

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