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Women’s group holds luncheon to benefit single moms at Lanier Tech
Scholarships awarded to five women
Two of the scholarship recipients, Gail Jones, left, and Karli Plant, right, smile at Wednesday’s luncheon. - photo by Isabel Hughes

Karli Plant desperately needed the money.

“I had no idea how I was going to afford gas,” she said. “But with this, I just put new brakes on my car and I know I’ll [be able to] pay for gas and the transportation costs.”

Plant, a single mother of two attending classes on Lanier Technical College’s Forsyth County campus, drives dozens of miles each day to and from the school, where she is working towards a degree in interior design as part of Lanier Tech’s Interiors program.

Plant was recently named one of five $1,000 scholarship recipients by the north Georgia chapter or Altrusa International, a women’s organization that focuses on service and giving.

“The purpose of this luncheon is to raise funds for our service projects and for scholarships for single parents attending Lanier Tech,” said Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit District Attorney Penny Penn, the chapter’s president.

Wednesday’s luncheon included a fashion show put on by Chico’s at The Collection at Forsyth and several raffles, in addition to a silent auction.

Two of the five scholarship recipients attended – Plant and Gail Jones, also a single mother of two.

“This is our twelfth year having [the luncheon,]” said Glen Machado, one of Altrusa’s members. “We have given about $33,000 to the Lanier Tech Foundation and our gift is very different because [these students] can get a grant, they can get the HOPE scholarship, but what they can’t get is money for babysitting and gas money and that kind of thing.”

Altrusa’s scholarship gives the women cash in hand, Machado said.

Teresa Grizzle, Advancement Coordinator for the Foundation, said the money also helps the foundation help the students.

“We could not help them without the support of donors and organizations that spend hours getting these functions together,” she said. “We are so grateful.”

Each year, about six or eight students apply for the scholarship, which, in the past, has only been given to three students per year.

Machado said she asked Grizzle this time around that if Altrusa had more money for the scholarships, whether to increase the number of recipients or the amount each recipient received.

Grizzle said the more that could help the better.

“We have so many student moms who have returned to college or are going to college for the first time, so it’s an awesome opportunity for them to have help with other expenses, other than just tuition and fees,” she said.

Plant said the scholarship will help keep her motivated to finish her degree.

“I made a huge jump in a 30-minute decision to go back to school, not knowing how I was going to be able to afford transportation with my children,” she said. “But I knew that I wasn’t going to put any excuses in front of me and I’m not stopping.”