New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae accepting applications; summer session scheduled for May 29 – June 18

March 04, 2016

The New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) at Lees-McRae College is accepting applications for its three-week residential summer program that helps low-income women gain the skills and confidence to turn their lives around. This summer’s session will be held from May 29 – June 18.

“Our mission is to help women improve their personal, educational and financial circumstances,” said Jennie Harpold, director of the NOSW at Lees-McRae. “Women who would benefit from our program are those who really want to improve their situation, but need access to additional resources. We supply the tools they need to fulfill their potential.” 

Founded in 1987 in Berea, Ky., the New Opportunity School for Women opened an expansion site at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk in 2005. The program at Lees-McRae has now graduated more than 110 women.

The three-week residential session includes instruction in creative writing, public speaking, interviewing and Appalachian literature. Experienced volunteer instructors also teach basic accounting, computer and resume writing skills and how to navigate the college application process. Internships in the local community provide the women with the opportunity to further explore career paths. Women participating in the program attend cultural events, such as concerts, a summer theatre production, and a series of lectures related to local Appalachian culture.

There is no cost to the students attending this program, thanks to generous help from individual donors, local churches and agencies that support women’s initiatives. Assistance with childcare costs and travel costs are available. Applicants should have or be working toward a GED or high school diploma, be of low-income, and have an interest in a new career and/or higher education.

For more information, contact Jennie Harpold at or 828-898-8905. Interested parties may download an application from or request one from the NOSW office.  

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: