DALLAS — At a Mother’s Day brunch at Misericordia University, mothers were recognized in more ways than one.
The university held its second annual Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch and Fundraiser on Sunday morning, with all proceeds benefitting the university’s Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program.
Katherine Pohlidal, director of the Women with Children Program, said the event has been an effective way of bringing the program to the eyes of the community.
“We did this event last year, and it went well so we decided to do it again,” Pohlidal said.
According to Pohlidal, there are only a few other programs in the United States that are similar to the Women with Children Program, and no others in Pennsylvania.
The program provides scholarships to single mothers at or below the poverty line so they can receive a four-year degree. In addition to the degree, mothers in the program receive housing for both themselves and their children.
Pohlidal said that over the program’s 17 years, it has expanded greatly. Just recently, the program began offering help to 16 families, up from 10 previously, and a third house was put into use for the families to live in.
“We hope to only see the program grow in the future,” Pohlidal said. “Poverty is a huge barrier, and education can really help with that.”
Pohlidal said that five of the mothers in the program were graduating, with all of them either headed to graduate school or off to pursue some kind of a professional career.
Asia Thompson, 24, originally from New Jersey, is one of those soon-to-be graduates. Thompson just completed her course work for a degree in English, and is now deciding between law schools to attend.
“A lot of people in this program come from an adverse background, and it saves lives in more ways than one,” Thompson said.
Thompson is part of the program with her son, Zeire, 7, and her daughter, Kaitlyn, 5. She says that the benefits she and her family receive from the program are “amazing.”
“It builds a solid foundation,” Thompson said. “It’s beneficial for not only the mothers but also the children.”
Sunday’s brunch was open to the public, with tickets ranging from $20 for children aged 12 to 18 and $50 for adults. Aside from getting a full range of brunch options and brunch cocktails like mimosas and Bloody Marys, attendees got the satisfaction of knowing that their ticket costs went towards funding another endowed scholarship.
Maureen Borton Dicker, of Hawley, came to the brunch as a way of helping the scholarship get funded.
“My mother and aunt are Misericordia alumnae, so we thought this was a good way to honor them,” she said. “And we have a big place in our hearts for helping mothers succeed, so we thought we’d come have brunch.”
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119 or on Twitter @PatKernan.