Women Supporting Women
June 04, 2013  |  by Julia Stowe

At the second Women’s Leadership Luncheon, May 1, more than 300 community leaders gathered at the Riverside Country Club in Provo. Speakers informed the guests about the progress that’s been made over the past year in helping women achieve higher education and to talk about goals for the future.

Utah Valley University’s first lady, Paige Holland, welcomed guests and introduced this year’s theme of gratitude for all those who have served as teachers and mentors. As an example, she recalled how her mother had read to her daily and taken her to the library weekly, instilling in her a love of books that has lasted throughout her life.

Paige also told guests about some of the other progress taking place at UVU, including the approval of $54 million by the state legislature for a new classroom and office building and the planned opening of the new Student Life and Wellness Building and parking structure later this year.

Anne Wairepo, director of UVU’s Women’s Success Center, presented a video showing the ways in which the center is supporting women at UVU, including Women Helping Women, a mentoring program with professional women, and Women of UVU, a club of students helping other students.

At last year’s luncheon, President Matthew S. Holland introduced guests to the University’s pressing need to expand the Wee Care Center, which provides child care on a sliding scale to low-income student parents. That presentation inspired author and motivational speaker Barbara Barrington Jones to give $2 million toward the expansion, and the project is on schedule to be completed this fall. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 27, 2013, will be open to the public.

Becky Hawkins of Method Studio was on hand to show attendees the design for the new center and to explain how different areas have been designed to support children at different stages of development.

President Holland said, “I want to thank everyone in this room who has helped us get so far so fast. It truly astounds me to see what this group of women has accomplished in this past year.” He read an excerpt from a letter written by Nichol Stubbs, a student who had used the Wee Care Center, underscoring the need for the expanded facility:

“I had no other childcare options. On registration days, for two years, I would sit on the steps in front of the office at four o’clock in the morning to make sure I was first in line to get my son, Conner, in. The last year I stayed overnight, because other parents had already started lining up at 10 p.m. the night before. I never would have been able to go to school, let alone graduate, if it weren’t for Mary Ellen Larsen and the Wee Care Center.”

Holland encouraged guests interested in the center’s success to help the University complete its fundraising toward the expansion. Anyone interested is supporting the Wee Care Center expansion is invited to Make a Wee Care Gift.


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