New Opportunity School for Women offers help

Feb 19, 2013

The New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College is accepting applications for its ninth summer intensive, a three-week residential program that helps low-income women gain the skills and confidence to turn their lives around.

“Our mission is to help women improve their personal, educational, and financial circumstances,” said NOSW director Karen Sabo. “Women who would benefit from our program are those who really want to improve their situation, but need some outside help.  We supply the tools they need to fulfill their potential.”

Between the program at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, and the original program in Berea, Kentucky, the program has helped more than 700 women overcome past problems to achieve success personally and professionally.

“My life has totally changed since attending the New Opportunity School for Women,” said a graduate of the 2010 program. “I have the opportunity to go back to college, and that’s something I thought would never happen…the program was perfect, the timing was perfect.  The program made me realize that life is short and you have to do what you really want to do and you have to stand up for yourself and you also have to give back.”

During the three-week residential session, women take classes in many subjects, including self-esteem, creative writing, public speaking and interview skills, and Appalachian literature.  Experienced volunteer instructors teach basic accounting, computer skills, navigating the college application process, and resume writing. Women attending the program will also go to cultural events, such as concerts, plays, and lectures.

Because of help from individual donors and from organizations such as the High Country Women’s Fund and the Appalachian Women’s Fund, there is no cost to the students for attending this program.

Applicants should be between the ages of 30 to 55, possess a high school diploma or GED and have no college degree.

To apply for the program, contact Sabo at, or call 898-8905.  Interested parties may download applications from the website at, or may request one from the NOSW office.