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Guest column: WINGS conference empowers women to get an education

Register now for free Feb. 10 conference

By SARA MEYER

Published on February 5, 2018 10:56AM

Michelle Hartman is an alumnus of the WINGS conference, which helped her secure a $4,000 entrepreneurial scholarship at Clatsop Community College. ‘Don’t be afraid to do it,’ Hartman told The Daily Astorian’s readers in 2017, ‘because once you’re in there, you’ll feel so much better, just knowing that people care.’

The Daily Astorian

Michelle Hartman is an alumnus of the WINGS conference, which helped her secure a $4,000 entrepreneurial scholarship at Clatsop Community College. ‘Don’t be afraid to do it,’ Hartman told The Daily Astorian’s readers in 2017, ‘because once you’re in there, you’ll feel so much better, just knowing that people care.’

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Sara Meyer

Sara Meyer


What can we in our community do to improve the lives and prospects of our local women and children, who have so much potential to make Clatsop County a more vibrant and equitable place to live and work?

We can give them WINGS!

We are gearing up for the 16th year for WINGS (Women Interested in Going to School) and close to 800 women have taken advantage of this free conference. It offers sessions with college staff, who provide useful information and timelines to get started on an educational track. Sessions include information on earning a GED, costs and financial support options, learning about Lives in Transition (LIT), conquering math anxiety, Clatsop Community College degrees and certificate programs.

This one-day conference also includes a LATINA WINGS track in the morning, with Spanish-speaking staff volunteering their time to help women know that they can come to the community college to gain English skills and further their education. More importantly, they’ll learn that the college welcomes them.

What is great about WINGS is that women will begin the day with trepidation about their perceived barriers to learning, and leave with relief and enthusiasm as they figure out they can and should get on with their education, be it seeking a degree, a GED or workforce job training. The conference is packed with how to plan and begin, what support and programs are available, and who can assist them.

This year the WINGS conference takes place this Saturday, Feb. 10 at Clatsop Community College. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and wraps up by 3:30. It is free to all participants, with breakfast, lunch, and child care provided. The morning begins with a “can do” speaker and greetings from people in leadership. We hear the real work done and accomplished from WINGS graduates. Attendees see and hear about the community that supports their education. To broaden the world of work potential, there is a presentation from women working in non-traditional jobs.

Everyone working this WINGS conference volunteers their time and knowledge because we know how important a good education is. Members of Astoria and Seaside American Association of University Women (AAUW) and staff and faculty at the community college organized this conference beginning in 2002 to give women the information, support and encouragement needed to return to school. The day focuses on moms who had to quit their educations to raise kids, enter the workforce, or just weren’t ready for college after high school. We reached out to women who might be ready to increase their skills to advance in work.

AAUW had its beginnings in 1881, when too few women were allowed to obtain college degrees. Some of those graduates knew they needed to have an organization that would speak out for education and equity issues, and further their own craving for learning. AAUW is a national organization with more than 115,000 members today.

The Astoria Branch formed in 1927 and the Seaside Branch followed in 1942. Both branches continue advocating for that inclusive dialogue that can come with an educated and informed community. We invite the public to attend our programs, and join AAUW if they support our mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

Please, if you or someone you know would benefit from attending WINGS, have them register for free at wings-clatsop.com or call Pat at 503-717-1852 (503-338-2379 for Spanish).

Money donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. Send checks to CCC Foundation (put WINGS on the information line) and mail to CCC College, 1651 Lexington Ave. Astoria, OR 97103.

Sara Meyer of Astoria is a member of the American Association of University Women and co-chair of the WINGS conference.

BOX: It’s not too late to sign up for Saturday’s conference. If you or someone you know would benefit from attending WINGS, have them register for free at wings-clatsop.com or call Pat at 503-717-1852 (503-338-2379 for Spanish).



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