Starting Point 2.0: Empowering young single moms

Starting Point 2.0 Graduation Wednesday, December 5, 2018. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- It's graduation day for a group of single moms and young women at Fox Valley Tech.

Like many moms, Gabrielle Tolan's 9-month-old daughter became her biggest motivator.

"Every time I look at this girl's face, (my day) gets better and better," Tolan said as she pleasantly smiled at her daughter.

The single mom signed up for Starting Point 2.0. The free program at Fox Valley Tech targets young, low-income mothers.

"We talk about self-esteem, goal setting, decision making, family relationships," said FVTC school counselor, Kara Nowak.

Over 11 weeks, women learn about career development and how to face barriers like housing, transportation and day care.

Sarah Freimuth graduated from the program a few years ago. She's now a director of a mental health support program.

"I don't know what support I did not get because it was every aspect of my life, not just one," said Freimuth.

According to the American census, almost 1 of every 4 children lived with a single-mom in 2016.

And it's those children that help these women accomplish things they didn't know they could.

"I started school at the tech for business management with entrepreneurship emphasis," Tolan said.

Tolan wants to someday open her own 24/7 daycare chain.

"I cant wait to get out there in the world and see my accomplishment unfold," she said.

Her advice? Never give up.

5 women with a total of 7 children graduated from the program Wednesday from Starting Point 2.0 and an additional 4 women graduated from EmpowHer.

The program starts back up in February.

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