The findings of this study didn't come as a surprise to WKU's Women's Studies department. But it did prompt a unique approach to finding a local solution. Western teamed up with Bowling Green Housing Authority's Reach Higher Program and came up with the idea of a summer camp for women and their children. The results of their efforts proved astounding.
The Women and Kids Learning Together Summer Camp was a joint venture by Western Kentucky University and Bowling Green's Housing Authority. These organizations used an existing camp model to create a camp unique to the needs of women in the South Central Kentucky area.
Women were exposed to various workshops ranging from journaling, bead making, theater, photography and cooking, even yoga.
Dr. Olmsted says this kind of support is vital to change the vicious cycle poverty plays in women's status.
T.J. Shockley has been the director of Bowling Green's Housing Authority's Reach Higher program for years years.
She once walked in the same shoes as many of the women she now mentors.
She agrees with Dr. Olmsted and says she probably wouldn't have made it without the strong support group she had.
T.J. says this camp designed by women for women makes the perfect partnership to creating positive social change so that the conditions for women in Kentucky can begin to improve.
Dr. Olmsted says the camp provided a little taste of what a university education contributes and with this exposure comes self esteem.
Something she says can help break the vicious cycle Kentucky some women find themselves in.
The camp's highlight's focused on confidence building activities.