NEWTON, NJ - Project Self-Sufficiency participant Samantha Vander Velde, 23, was recently awarded a scholarship by the Sparta Woman’s Club Education Committee in recognition of her desire to further her education.  The Sparta Woman’s Club, a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, offers scholarships to high school seniors as well as women who are returning to school.  Recipients must be attending college, trade school or business school. 

Vander Velde is pursuing a career in the medical field, and is currently enrolled at Sussex County Community College.  She has completed the EKG certification program and is working towards a certificate in phlebotomy.  A degree as a Medical Assistant is next on her list. 

 “I felt very surprised and grateful when I learned that I was going to receive this scholarship,” noted Vander Velde.  “It means that I am on the right career path and that I am going to get where I want to be.”

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Vander Velde’s scholarship application immediately stood out from the other applications, according to Sparta Woman’s Club Education Committee Chairperson, Maureen Newman.  “I knew from reading Samantha’s application and having met her that she’s a great recipient for this award.  She’s going to follow through with her education because she’s motivated and has a drive to succeed.”

Vander Velde was referred to the scholarship application process by her Project Self-Sufficiency case manager, Devon Ehehalt, a certified home visitor at the agency.  Now the mother of a toddler, Vander Velde has received visits in her home from Ehehalt for years.  The visits have provided insights about parenting skills, childhood development, and other topics, and have also given Vander Velde support as she furthers her education and moves towards economic self-sufficiency.

Project Self-Sufficiency provides an array of services aimed primarily at low-income families.  Programs include career guidance, computer training, help with obtaining a GED, parenting skills classes, legal assistance and education, financial workshops, health education, childcare and family activities.  The agency offers help around the holidays, formal dresses during prom season, and assistance with emergency basic needs, such as food and clothing to its participants.  Most services are free and many are open to the public.  For information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500.