Sarahlyn Argrow did not start out under the best of circumstances. In fact, they were horrible by most standards.
She was an abused wife, then a single, near penniless, undereducated mother of five daughters. She’ll tell you the story of her past.
Then you can see how see has transformed it into a bright future. And she’s taking others with her.
A Working Woman in Need (AWWIN) is a Savannah-based non-profit founded by Argrow in 2000.
The program has blossomed into a well rounded training regime designed to equip single women with the necessary skills to provide for themselves and, in many cases, their children. Women attend class two hours a night, twice a week, for 30 weeks.
The participants can expect to be trained in a variety of fields including math and language skills and common computer programs. AWWIN will also pay for their GED. In preparation for the job interviews that they are now qualified for, the women are also given instruction in resume writing, oral presentations, and presenting a professional appearance.
AWWIN has graduated over 120 women since founding. The most recent class held ceremonies at St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Savannah on Oct. 2.
The graduating class consisted of 10 women. Some of these women experienced success prior to the ceremony. Chiquita Miller received her GED. Virginia Williams earned a promotion. Vanessa Hall and Virginia McCoy successfully gained employment.
During the graduation, one could not help but be inspired. Women spoke of being hurt, alone, frightened, and unable to take care of their children. Now, they were confident, hopeful, insightful, and ready to begin again on their own two feet.
They talked about friendships created and destructive relationships discarded. They let us into their lives and let us dream with them into the future. In the audience, I was able to see the looks of pride in the faces of family and friends and listen to children call for mothers who were in the middle of speeches.
There were no tears when they spoke. I found this amazing. These women were telling their failures and successes and they were not emotional. They were powerful.
They exuded confidence and professionalism. They remembered where they had been but they realized full well where they were going - and it was up! They were strong and determined.
It is my guess that many of these women will be back at Argrow’s door in the future.
However, at that time, it will be as volunteers. Volunteerism is the backbone of the training program. Professionals from the area donate their time and knowledge to assist the participants in achieving their goals.
There is another opportunity approaching for participants and volunteers alike.
Argrow has already scheduled her next session to begin on Feb. 19, 2008. Applications will be accepted from Dec, 14 to Jan. 31 Offers to volunteer can always be extended. Anyone desiring more information can call 912.659.0239.
Groves is a Navy veteran, a working mom and a Richmond Hill resident.