Providing Opportunity for Low-income Women, Jane Stephenson Lexington, KY
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11/28/2011 | 06:53PM


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Providing Opportunity for Low-income Women, Jane Stephenson Lexington, KY New Opportunity School for Women, Inc.


In July 2011, Create the Good launched the Win & Do Good Contest to encourage people across the country to share their volunteer stories and inspire others to say “I can do that!”   We were amazed at the response.  More than 1,800 individuals took the time to tell us how they give back to their communities.   Seven finalists, selected because of their exceptional volunteer submissions, were awarded $5,000 for the charity of their choice.  We then opened it up to the general vote for the Grand Prize – an additional $10,000 for the winner’s charity.  Congratulations to Jane Stephenson of Lexington, KY for her winning submission and a big thank you for the good she creates for low-income women.  Here’s Jane’s story: 


Twenty four years ago, I began the New Opportunity School for Women, Inc., a three-week residential program to expand opportunities for low-income, under-educated women in the central Appalachian region of Kentucky. Today, at age 73, I’m still volunteering, teaching classes, fundraising and serving on the school’s boards. 


The New Opportunity School for Women, which we expanded 7 years ago to Lees-McRae College in the mountains of North Carolina, helps women age 30 to 60 in very difficult straits. Eighty percent of participants have family incomes of less than $10,000 a year. They come to us to gain the skills necessary to continue their education or get a job including computer and math basics, writing, interview preparation and leadership training. Because of personal situations -- including abuse, poverty, poor health and alcohol and drug abuse in their families -- building a good self-image is also an important aspect of our program. 


Nearly 700 women have graduated from the New Opportunity School for Women and the results have been amazing.   Seventy-nine percent of recent grads are employed, in school or both.  We feel it’s so important for these women to learn just how much they have to offer the world and believe in themselves. They are dramatically changing their own lives and those of their families.


Thanks for bringing this site to my attention. There is so much that needs to be done. And this inspires me to do something about it.

Janice S (not verified) | 4 years ago |

I appreciate this post. I hope others will feel the same way. Very encouraging.

Anonymous (not verified) | 4 years ago |

God bless Jane.

Gail450 | 4 years ago |

Jane has done something so wonderful as to have the NOSW school. Please pray for her and everyone that has something to do with the school, if they went to the school or volunteered there and the ones that work there. The school in Berea got robbed and burnt down the other morning. And, thank God that noone was hurt, and we know that God will get the NOSW through this. Thank you, for helping the NOSW to all that has helped them and thank you to all that will help them in this hard and sad time. Thank you,

Anonymous (not verified) | 4 years ago |

Where I live there is a lot of below poverty level people, but with hearts of gold. Some may need firewood for the winter, and another have it but cannot split and stack it due to disability. Another may have a chain saw, but no truck. Another may have a truck, but no gas money. Another has some old appliances that need hauled away.
The appliances hauled to metal recycling will bring in a little money for gas, and when you have so much lined up in good works almost anyone will scrape up $5 to loan toward gas to get the appliances hauled, the go get some wood in the truck and delivered and then go split and stacked for the one who can't. While were at it some one is moving out and needs trash hauled another moving in and needs furniture and we're out of gas again.
It takes good community connections to understand who needs what and who can help.
I've always been involved with community services. Even as a child I served the neighborhood seniors running errands and visiting at the convalescence home, often with a song and dance or a skit with the other neighborhood kids.
It's difficult to explain how making a difference to someone who needs help turns into a community event, and the effects of that are also difficult to explain except that it's good.

Penny Asbury (not verified) | 4 years ago |

Wish this great nation and world had the compasion jane has for her human counterparts with the reposiblty to teach them to strive to help each other God Bless.

johnny flores (not verified) | 4 years ago |

It's great to see this. I was a teenage mom and wish I had these options . I graduated high school finally but would have benefited from the support and knowledge of someone like Jane. An award much deserved.

velma (not verified) | 4 years ago |

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