WINGS: Women INterested in Going to School
WINGS is a free one-day conference that opens the door (mentally and physically) to a promising and productive future for women of all ages and supports equal education opportunity.
“The Daily Astorian”, Opinion Section, Guest Column by AAUW Astoria’s Sara Meyer
Monday February 5, 2018
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, and 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 it 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 educationa and equity issues, and further their own craving for learning. AAUW is a national organization with more that 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.
The WINGS Conference (Women Interested in Going to School) originated in 2001 at a meeting of the AAUW Seaside Branch and was quickly adopted by co-sponsors AAUW Astoria Branch and Clatsop Community College. It has served almost 700 local women, many of whom pursue their education-whether it be a GED, a community college certificate or degree, or a bachelor’s degree. In 2011, WINGS was one of only four AAUW’s national Breaking Through Barriers award recipients.
WINGS strives to overcome barriers to education for women. The one-day conference is free and includes breakfast, lunch and professional childcare. Women hear stories from past participants. Sessions are led by college staff and others on topics such as college admissions, degrees, certificates and pathways, career planning, accessing federal financial aid and scholarships, living-wage career opportunities and conquering math anxiety. Incentives are awarded to enroll at Clatsop Community Colllege and qcquire the opportunity to apply for WINGS scholarships.
Many WINGS graduates go on to enrolll in free Lives In Transition (LIT) classes at Clatsop Community College (CCC). More that 14% of degrees and certificates at CCC in 2015 went to LIT students.
Funding of WINGS is provided by local businesses, foundations and individuals. The women of WINGS go on to take their rightful place in society as productive, valued women.
Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson has been a major supporter and speaker at WINGS conferences.
A CALL FOR HELP WITH OUR WINGS CONFERENCE- February 10, 2018
Please let Sara know where you will help! email email@example.com or call 503 325-7969. This year we are hoping 50 women will want to attend to learn about how school will help them.