November 10, 2008
Oprah's Angel Network remembers the New Opportunity School for Women

Oprah's Angel Network remembers Jane Stephenson and the New Opportunity School for Women five years after Stephenson, founder of the school, received the Network's Use Your Life award in 2003 for her work with the three-week residential program that helps under-served, low-income Appalachian women develop the skills necessary to improve their lives.

The Use Your Life award is given by Oprah's Angel Network to individuals who make a difference in their communities and change lives for the better. Well, that's exactly what Jane Stephenson has done in southern Appalachia with the New Opportunity School for Women.

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. Together the programs have graduated more than 580 women in the Appalachian region with 76% of the graduates currently employed, enrolled in further education, or both.

"Our affiliation with Oprah's Angel Network is such an honor, and this will help to enhance our outreach efforts in both recruitment and fundraising. The New Opportunity School for Women has been serving women of southern Appalachia for over 20 years now, and we are so grateful for the continued interest and support from this community," said Lori Sliwa, Director of the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae. "The 41 graduates of the program at Lees-McRae College are a testament to the success of the program, and each one of them has gone on to make positive changes for themselves and their families."

The next session of the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae is July 12 - Aug. 1, 2009. For more information on the program or for an application, visit

To read the latest article on the New Opportunity School for Women by Oprah's Angel Network, visit

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Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
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