NOSW receives grant from Presbyterian Women

NOSW receives grant from Presbyterian Women

March 27, 2015

The New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) at Maryville College has received a grant from the Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The $33,470 Thank Offering Grant will provide additional funding for this year’s program, which will be held July 12 through Aug. 1 on the Maryville College campus. The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee, a fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, along with private donors, also provided support for the 2015 program.

“Like the Presbyterian Church, NOSW seeks to encourage and to provide service to others,” said Linda Ueland, director of NOSW at Maryville College. “This grant, along with the grant received from the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee, will provide the funding for our 2015 program that enables NOSW to serve 14 low-income, under-educated women who want to change their lives and realize sustainability. The support and partnership NOSW receives from these two foundations, which both were founded by women, will have a positive impact on the lives of the women we all serve.

“Like a stone tossed into a pond that creates ripples that increase in size, highly motivated women living in poverty and who attend the NOSW, create their personal ripples of positive change that move beyond them, to their families and into their communities,” Ueland added. “I cannot thank the Presbyterian Women and all of our supporters enough for providing support for this important life-changing program.” 

Out of an urgent need to help women in Appalachia become better educated and employed, the program was founded in 1987 by Jane Stephenson at Berea College in Kentucky. Building on its success, two additional programs were established at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina and Bluefield College in Virginia. Maryville College is the fourth NOSW program, which serves East Tennessee. The program was established at Maryville College in 2013 and welcomed its first class in July 2014.

The school is designed to improve the educational, financial and personal circumstances of low-income, under-educated, middle-aged women in the Appalachian region. Through a 21-day residential program and continuing support, women develop essential tools for advancing their education, gaining sustainable employment and rebuilding self-esteem. Topics covered include Appalachian literature, creative writing, math and budgeting, cultural experiences, personal interest and career exploration, job search skills, internships and leadership development. Career counseling, makeovers, health screenings and clothing resources are all part of the program to help build self-esteem, self-worth and confidence.

NOSW continues to support participants after graduation through one-on-one mentoring, reunions, workshops and scholarship opportunities.

NOSW will accept 14 women into the 2015 program, which is offered at no cost to the participants. Applicants must be between the ages of 30 and 55; have graduated from high school or have a GED or certificate of equivalency; have low income; and highly motivated to change their lives. Classes are taught by college instructors and community professionals.

To learn more about the NOSW program or attending the three-week program at Maryville College, please visit maryvillecollege.edu/nosw or contact Ueland at 865.981.8123 or linda.ueland@maryvillecollege.edu.

By Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.