Many dream of getting an education but for some, it’s not so easy. One San Diego organization is helping that dream come true for thousands of women who are the primary source of income for their families.
Soroptomist, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for access to education for women and girls across the globe, is awarding $25,000 to eight women, who can spend the money any way they want, as long as it is to advance their education goals — transportation, day care, classes and more.
Colleen Murphy, a 33-year-old single mother of a one-year-old, is one of the recipients. She’s determined to provide her son a good life, one very different than hers.
“There was a lot of turbulence in my life,” Murphy said. When she was 17 she left home for San Diego and enrolled in college. But out on her own, she struggled — depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.
“Over the next 10 years or so, it was just a cycle of domestic violence and substance abuse that just went on and on and on for years eventually resulting in my incarceration and then homelessness actually,” Murphy said.
But when she became pregnant with her son, “that changed everything.”
She is graduating with three AA degrees from Grossmont College and aplying to a UC school with aspirations to go to law school.
Gretchen Bergman, a member of Soroptomist, said Murphy is an example of the type of women they aim to support.
“This is why we believe in second chances, that everybody — nobody should live by the worst thing they ever did in their life,” Bergman said.
Soroptomist puts on a fashion show each year Called “Live Your Dreams” to raise money for the cash awards that are given to their recipients.
“It’s so gratifying to see all these women and how much you’re helping them to really live their dreams,” Bergman said.
And with lofty dreams like Murphy’s while taking care of an infant, she’s grateful for all the help she can get. She said she cried when she was told Soroptomist was going to help her with her finances.
Bergman said the recognition is also an acknowledgement that Murphy never game up on her dreams to get an education.
“It doesn’t matter what you do and there’s redemption if you just choose to stand back and not give up and pursue your dreams,” Bergman said.
The fashion show will be held virtually, in light of the pandemic, on March 6 and will be emceed by NBC 7’s Rory Devine. For more information on the cause, visit here.