Vickie Farrell

Eight years ago, Fresh Start scholar Vickie Farrell was a hard working, determined young woman who knew she needed a good education to get where she wanted to be in life. Suddenly on her own after the end of a troubled marriage, Vickie was faced with the urgent need to have enough money to support herself. She wanted more than just work at a job. She wanted a career, and even more than that, she wanted to help people. She didn’t know how it was going to happen—it seemed impossible at the time—but her heart was open to the possibilities.

“I was attending Del Tech at the time,” said Vickie, who lives in Dover, “and knew I’d need help with financing if I wanted to continue my college education. Walking by the financial aid office one day, I saw the call for applications from Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation (FSSF). I decided to give it a shot.”

It took her six years to get her associate’s degree in human services, squeezing classes into her 70-hour work weeks.

“During those six years, I took part in a sweat equity program that allowed me to build my own house. While working a full-time job, I spent 30 hours per week building my house and helping four of my neighbors build theirs. My mentor at FSSF, Rita Wilkins, came down sometimes and helped me with the building. Some day, when I’ve finished my education, I’ll be a mentor, too.”

FSSF board members and friends pitched in to help Vickie build her own house, including her mentor, Rita Wilkins (center with Vickie).

Vickie, whose GPA is 4.0, is now working on her bachelor’s in social work, with continued help from FSSF and her dedicated mentor.

“What I ultimately want to do is be a vocational rehab professional, training people the skills they need to achieve employment,” Vickie said.

Vickie encourages other women to have faith and have the courage to return to college as she did. Her advice is to stay dedicated and be focused on the goal.

“Basically, you have to find something that you want to do, something that you have a passion for. It will help you stay motivated and be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she says. “If you find yourself falling behind or if there are obstacles in your way, reach out to someone in your community or church. The support is out there. And, there are people out there who are going to keep you motivated and remind you that you are capable of earning your degree. The women at Fresh Start support me all the way.”

Have you been knocked off track from your college education? Do you need financial support to get you through? Or, do you know a woman who desperately wants to finish her college degree and needs help? Then visit here to download an application. The deadline for applications is May 15.