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Scholarships Awarded to Domestic Violence Survivors


(L-R): Cheryl and Jesse Tyson, featured guest speaker; JoAnne Lowry, MCWC board member, and Randy Lowry; MCWC scholarship donors Maya and Datren Williams, MCWC board member; and Dana Carter.

(L-R): Cheryl and Jesse Tyson, featured guest speaker; JoAnne Lowry, MCWC board member, and Randy Lowry; MCWC scholarship donors Maya and Datren Williams, MCWC board member; and Dana Carter.

Montgomery County Women’s Center Honors 21 Recipients

Education is one of the best investments we can make in ourselves,” said Jesse Tyson, the featured speaker at the Montgomery County Women’s Center’s annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony held July 26 at the Lone Star Community Building in The Woodlands.

Education can also help break the cycle for victims of domestic violence. That evening, scholarships were awarded to 21 of the center’s client survivors of the abusive trap of domestic violence – which includes physical, emotional, or sexual violence – to help them build a better life for themselves and their children. Though the women come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances that led them to seek shelter at the Women’s Montgomery County Center (MCWC), they are are determined to gain the education or job skills they need to become self-sufficient.

All at various stages of their education and re-building their lives, some are taking the first steps with English as a Second Language (ESL) or remedial college courses while others are close to completing a four-year degree with plans to earn a master’s degree. Most are working full-time while attending classes.

Jesse Tyson is an international business trailblazer, a global marketing and operations expert and a recognized name in the multinational oil and gas industry. In 2011, he retired from a 35-year career at Exxon Mobil to begin a new chapter in his life in philanthropy as a thought leader, business strategist and implementer. Currently, Tyson is the president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association. He credits his success with the ability to constantly challenge the people around him to exceed expectations.

Most recently, he received The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Global Diversity Award and the Pacesetter Award and the 100 Black Men of America Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service.

Among his affiliations, Tyson is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, the Orange Bowl Committee, the Board of Trustees of Lane College, and is an honorary member of 100 Black Men of America, a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., and a life member and ex officio member of the board of directors of the National Black MBA Association.

His wife, Cheryl Tyson, is a member of the MCWC board of directors.

As Tyson spoke to the audience, which included the scholarship recipients and their family members along with counselors and representatives of MCWC, he encouraged them to not let setbacks derail their plans. “Know that it’s not the falling down that defines us but rather the getting up, as winners are the ones who get up,” he said. “Sometimes life will deal you a bad hand and pressures in life will test your courage, but you will only reach greatness if you aspire to greatness. Remember that the scholarship donors have invested in you to help prepare you to lead and make a difference in the world. Tonight is just a glimpse of your future.”

As the women accepted their scholarships, some of them shared a bit about their journey and expressed their gratitude for the Women’s Center and their desire to pay it forward. Comments included:

  • “My current situation is not my final destination. Thanks to all the people at the Women’s Center, we truly can rise above any situation we come across.”
  • “I try hard to set an example for my two boys about their future relationships with women. Domestic violence is not going to define my life. I thank the Women’s Center from the bottom of my heart.”
  • “We are not victims anymore; we are survivors. I plan to come back to speak to women at the Women’s Center.”
  • “It’s been a long road and a process of growing and self-acceptance, and I’m determined to teach my daughters so the cycle of domestic violence won’t continue.”
  • “The Women’s Center saved my life and my children’s lives. I’m taking this opportunity and running with it toward a marketing degree. I’m committed to creating a better life for my children and paying it forward.”
  • “It’s the tragedies in life that bring people together. We discovered we were not alone. Because of people like you, I was able to get through my first year of college. Thank you for believing in me.”

Sarah Raleigh, MCWC President and CEO, said, “We were honored to have Jesse share his inspirational speech. He is devoted to helping nonprofits such as ours through his expertise and forward thinking and we are so appreciative of his contributions. We are also grateful for Lone Star College, which once again generously donated the venue, catering and decorations for our annual dinner ceremony.”

MCWC board chair Marion Fischer, who co-chaired the education and scholarship committee along with Phyllis Ocheltree, commended the caring individuals and organizations who donated scholarship funds. “The generous donations fuel these courageous women’s admirable desire to overcome their struggles, gain self-confidence, meet their goals, and make a brighter future for themselves and their children. The Women’s Center is proud to be a part of that process for these deserving, ambitious women.”

The 2016 Scholarship Donors included the Alden Bridge Village Association, Inc., Lowell Anderson in Memory of Jean Anderson, Nell and Ed Belanger, Tom Cox, Sr. in Memory of Marion Cox, the Indian Springs Village Association – Lloyd Matthews, Jerry Hantman in Memory of Carol Hantman, Cindy and Rob Hardin, Aletha and Jeff Harris, Brynn and Peter Huntsman, Jean and Andy Hruby and Adora Kutchin, The Manley Family Foundation, Debbie Stanford in Memory of Bill Stanford, Carolyn and Arthur Stoll, Maya and Datren Williams, and Kathie and Scott Wolford and Amy and Steve Wolford – Corporate Medical Systems, Inc. In addition, six ESL scholarships were donated by the MCWC board of directors.

The Montgomery County Women’s Center is a nonprofit organization and is a United Way agency whose mission is to end domestic violence and sexual assault in Montgomery and surrounding counties through assistance, advocacy, empowerment and education. Services include a 24-hours crisis hotline, emergency shelter for those fleeing abuse, counseling, transitional housing support, legal services, advocacy through the medical and legal process, and education and outreach in the community and schools.

To change a life through a scholarship donation, contact Deana Germany at 936-441-4044, ext. 29 or email deanag@mcwctx.org. For more information, call (936) 441-4044 or the 24-hour crisis hotline at 936-441-7273 or visit mcwctx.org.

(L-R): Aletha Harris, MCWC board executive committee member and scholarship donor; Mandana Amarlouei, scholarship recipient; Nell Belanger, MCWC education and scholarship committee member and scholarship donor; and Dana Garcia, MCWC community relations manager.

(L-R): Aletha Harris, MCWC board executive committee member and scholarship donor; Mandana Amarlouei, scholarship recipient; Nell Belanger, MCWC education and scholarship committee member and scholarship donor; and Dana Garcia, MCWC community relations manager.

Scholarship recipient Michelle Howard (center) with her children and her MCWC counselor, Danielle MacMillan (2nd left).

Scholarship recipient Michelle Howard (center) with her children and her MCWC counselor, Danielle MacMillan (2nd left).

(L-R): Sarah Raleigh, MCWC president and CEO; Jesse Tyson, featured guest speaker; and Marion Fischer, MCWC education and scholarship committee co-chair and MCWC board chair.

(L-R): Sarah Raleigh, MCWC president and CEO; Jesse Tyson, featured guest speaker; and Marion Fischer, MCWC education and scholarship committee co-chair and MCWC board chair.

Scholarships Awarded to Domestic Violence Survivors


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