The more low-wage jobs Kelsey Voss worked to support herself and her then-unborn son, the more depressed she became, and the less confident she felt about her future. Then she found the Project LeeWay program at Lee College.
“I thank Jesus for leading me here at just the right time,” Voss told her peers, instructors and administrators at the Project LeeWay Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, held Thursday, Dec. 4, in the Student Center game room to recognize the 14 graduates who completed the program this fall and will begin working on their chosen degree and certificate tracks in January.
“It was a miracle. I felt so blessed to even be provided with school supplies on my first day,” said Voss, whose son is now 8 months old. “I have hope again.”
Funded through a federal grant, Project LeeWay assists low-income adults in pursuing a college education by providing help with the cost of tuition, textbooks, childcare and transportation, among other resources.
After applying and being accepted into the program, students complete a five-week session where they earn college credit while refreshing their reading, writing, math, social and study skills. They also explore nearly two dozen technical career fields they can pursue through programs the college offers, and end the session registered and fully prepared for the next semester of classes.
For Marsha Tuha, arriving at Project LeeWay was one of the biggest and most important moments of her life. Now a senior program manager at the Center for Workforce and Community Development on campus, Tuha enrolled in Project LeeWay in 1998 as a divorced single mother of three who had recently moved her family from Amarillo to Baytown in search of a better life.
“I didn’t know it I was going to make it, but I had the determination,” Tuha said in an emotional keynote speech at the Project LeeWay luncheon. “I just had to — I had three little boys that needed me. We all have 24 hours in a day, but it’s what you do with your 24 that matters. I worked really hard and was one of the top graduates of our class. Don’t give up. You can do this.”
Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown told the students that one day, they would look back on their completion of Project LeeWay and realize what an important step they made toward a bright and happy future.
“This step may seem small, but years from now you’ll realize how big this accomplishment really was,” Brown said. “Today is a significant milestone, and it’s just the beginning. You could have not made us any prouder.”
For more information about Project LeeWay, contact the office at 281.425.6492.