BONNERS FERRY — With the economy on the rise, new job opportunities have opened up, but not all jobs are available to people who haven’t completed a higher level of education at a college. Many women and housewives go through a period where they have spent all of their time making a home and caring for their families, that they put their career on the backburner until their children grow up and are no longer as dependent on their parents.
“Many women do that. We forget about ourselves, put ourselves in the background, and support our husbands and children,” said Debora Perry, president of the local P.E.O chapter. “We forget about us. Then when we get to be in our 40s and 50s, and they start thinking hey, maybe I should do something for me.”
There are programs in place for women to utilize and go back to school, be it a scholarship, loan, or grant. One of these is the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education and it is aimed toward women with at least two years of college schooling, and many women may qualify to receive it.
P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, and their goal is to help women receive a higher education, supporting them with a grant and moral support throughout their careers. Through the P.E.O. program, there is the P.C.E. grant, which is aimed towards women who want to continue their schooling.
In the Boundary County chapter of the organization, Tanya Currie has been awarded the grant to help her continue to pursue her dreams.
“In the position I’m at in my work, you cannot move up without a degree, and you have to have a masters for speech therapy and it is a very competitive field,” said Currie. “When I stayed home with my children all those years, my husband worked for Currie Masonry, which people can see their work around town. The business closed during the hard time in 2009, so I was in a need to work too.”
Wondering what to put on her resume and having all that time off while being a housewife of two children and homeschooling, made finding work very hard for Currey.
“Being able to go back and get my degree and have the support, is really important,” Currie said.
There are people that think about college and come up with excuses such as it’s expensive or time consuming.
Chairwoman of the local chapter, Dottie Grey, had Currie as a student when she was in fifth grade.
“It’s a heart tugger to see someone I had as a student that many years ago doing so well,” said Grey.
Speaking about how difficult it can be to continue schooling, Grey said, “Even if you take a couple summer classes, I recommend that. Having the mentality that if your not going to go all out with it, don’t, it’s worth it to get a class in here and there, and just to try it. You can still take care of your family, do what you need to do.”
When speaking about how receiving the grant made her feel, Currie emotionally said, “I think it’s great to see women supporting women. Like Dottie Grey mentioned, she was my fifth grade teacher, I was born and raised here. I’m 42, so It’s nice to be able to have someone support you later in life.”
Currie completed her associates degree at North Idaho College, and is now pursuing her Bachelor’s degree for Speech Therapy utilizing Utah State Universities online courses. With the opportunity to go back to school earlier, Currie was unable to as her son was still in school, and it would require her to drive to Coeur d’Alene.
“The online courses have opened up a whole new set of opportunities,” said Perry.
Many people would not have taken the opportunity to continue schooling otherwise, especially those in rural communities.
“Whatever little help we can give, whatever big help we can give, we are always here to support you,” said Perry. “We like to follow the recipients too. Many have gone on to do some fabulous things.”
“Whenever I get a scholarship, or grants like this, I feel like a representative of those who support me, so I do my best to represent to my best ability,” said Currey. “I take it in all seriousness.”
As time marches on, and one day may blend with the other, everyone that has the dream, and the will to work for it, need only ask around, as there are support groups for people from all walks of life, who strive to help those that need accomplish their goals to be successful.
For more information visit: www.peointernational.org/