MCWC gives gift of education to 21 domestic violence survivors

The Montgomery County Women’s Center awarded 21 scholarships to domestic violence survivors during its annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

“Education is one of the best investments we can make in ourselves,” said Jesse Tyson, the featured speaker at the event July 25 at the Lone Star Community Building in The Woodlands.

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 they come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances that led them to seek shelter at the MCWC, each 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 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.

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 ExxonMobil 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 he is a 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 they accepted their scholarship, some of the women shared a bit about their journey and expressed their gratitude for the Women’s Center and their desire to pay it forward. Comments included:

“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,” said Sarah Raleigh, MCWC president and CEO. “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 give the women “fuel” to pursue their education goals.

“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,” she said. “The Women’s Center is proud to be a part of that process for these deserving, ambitious women.”

The 2016 Scholarship Donors included Lowell Anderson in memory of Jean Anderson, Nell & 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 & Rob Hardin, Aletha & Jeff Harris, Brynn & Peter Huntsman, Jean & Andy Hruby and Adora Kutchin, The Manley Family Foundation, Debbie Stanford in memory of Bill Stanford, Carolyn & Arthur Stoll, Maya & Datren Williams, and Kathie & Scott Wolford and Amy & Steve Wolford – Corporate Medical Systems, Inc. In addition, six ESL scholarships were donated by the MCWC board of directors.

For more information, please call 936- 441-4044 or the 24-hour crisis hotline at 936-441-7273 or visit

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