The Metrowest Women's Fund
Student Emergency Fund
The Single Mother Student Emergency Fund was created to assist single mother students at risk of leaving school.
The MWF Single Mother Student Emergency Fund supports women whose education is at risk because of a serious financial burden. The Fund provides financial assistance for non-tuition related emergencies that students may encounter while pursuing their studies including childcare expenses, housing costs, living expenses, and other basic needs. The Metrowest Women’s Fund has supported single mother students for a combined total of $156,500 for three academic years.
“We are extremely grateful for the Metrowest Women’s Fund’s generous donation that will allow our single mother students, who have many responsibilities outside the classroom, to continue their education,” said MassBay Community College President David Podell. “By relieving a sizable portion of their financial stress, the Metrowest Women’s Fund has ensured our single mom students are able to remain in school and pursue the skills training and educational credentials that lift them and their families into sustainable careers and steady wages. These funds are truly transformational.”
Jennifer, a single mother student at MassBay, describes how the Metrowest Women’s Fund assisted her last year: “In February of 2019, my life as I knew it changed forever. I went from living in a house, engaged, and raising three small children to facing homelessness as a domestic violence survivor and a single parent. At that point, I made the decision to go back to school and obtain an associate degree in paralegal studies.”
The Metrowest Women’s Fund Girls' Mental Health Grant
The Metrowest Women's Fund awarded a Girls' Mental Health Grant in support of a program for Metrowest middle school girls from low incomes to improve mental well-being on social media.
The MWF Girls' Mental Health Grant initiated the expansion of a free digital well-being and STEM summer workshop for middle school girls in Metrowest from low incomes. The program focuses on improving healthy digital relationships that will promote positive self-image and healthy habits. The workshop is designed and run by the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Lab at Wellesley Centers for Women.
"Girls' mental health is of significant concern," states Rebecca Parkhill, Co-founder of the Metrowest Women's Fund. "The constant presence of social media in the lives of middle school girls raises questions about its impact on mental health. We chose to support this project as it uniquely addresses the critical needs of middle school girls by providing social and emotional learning in conjunction with project-based collaboration skills and STEM career exploration."
The Lab, led by Dr. Linda Charmaraman, studies a breadth of issues related to youth, the media in which they are immersed, and implications for social, emotional, academic, and physical well-being. The Lab is well-positioned to attend to the unique needs of girls during a critical developmental and transitional period in their lives, including their first smartphones, their introduction to social media, and their independence from caregivers.
The Metrowest Women’s Fund Needs Assessment of Middle School Girls: Metrowest
The Metrowest Women’s Fund, in partnership with the Center for Social Research at Framingham State University, conducted a Needs Assessment of Middle School Girls: Metrowest in 2021.
This report identifies the needs of girls in Metrowest and produces critical data on issue areas including emotional and mental health, self-image, gender identity, social relationships, physical activity and COVID concerns.
“The Metrowest Women’s Fund initiated a needs assessment of middle school girls in Metrowest to provide needed data and ultimately to help girls thrive,” said Rebecca Parkhill, Co-Founder of the Metrowest Women’s Fund.
The report states that middle school is a critical juncture for all girls and especially those of low and moderate income who have limited access to resources ranging from menstrual health to mental health services. It presents the result of an electronic questionnaire regarding the needs of middle school girls, that was sent to principals from 37 middle schools in the Metrowest catchment area.