School is in session: Scholarships from Catholic Charities Fort Worth transform lives, communities

North Texas Catholic
(Jul 16, 2019) Local

Instructor Nick Bixby with Rural Vocation scholarship recipients in the LVN program at North Central Texas College in Graham. (Photo courtesy of CCFW)

Christina, a single mother, once struggled to provide for her children. 

Brian, the sole caregiver for his chronically ill father, experienced hopelessness as he faced his own uncertain future. 

For these residents of rural communities within the Diocese of Fort Worth, Catholic Charities Fort Worth’s Rural Vocation program has offered a way out of poverty and into thriving lives of self-sufficiency. 

The help these and 290 other CCFW clients have received through the program is transforming the communities of Hillsboro, Bowie, Gainesville, Graham, Stephenville, Vernon, Wichita Falls, and Weatherford. 

The program is operating at local college campuses, bringing hope to students who never dreamed of attaining the resources and education that have led to long-term financial stability.

“Many scholarships aid people financially, but never had I heard of a scholarship given by an organization that truly cared about and invested in the recipient holistically,” reflected Christina.

“I feel like I was taken in under a wing of love. Through Catholic Charities I have been introduced to study groups, daily support and guidance from on-site representatives, personal encouragement, budget counseling, time management skills, and opportunities for personal growth,” she continued.

“Seeing what my dad went through is what inspired me to want to become a nurse,” wrote Brian. “But I quickly learned I couldn’t afford to actually go to nursing school. [Catholic Charities] reached out to me to let me know I had been awarded a scholarship. Some scholarships are just a check in the mail, but with Catholic Charities there was an education specialist who called me, set goals with me, helped me stay motivated, and was just there for me. Without this help, my dad and I would be homeless and I definitely wouldn’t have finished school.”

Dr. Emily Klement, who serves as executive director of CCFW’s Northwest Campus in Wichita Falls, says that in her many years of working in higher education, she has never seen an intervention model that is as effective as the highly personalized, strengths-based Rural Vocation program.

“It truly works to keep people out of poverty, once and for all,” she explained. “We have students completing associate degrees in nursing and allied health programs, as well as certifications in welding, air conditioning work, and more.

“We have better than a 92 percent completion rate, and after graduation, the relationship continues,” Klement added. “Our students know that we truly care for them and for their families.”

To learn more about eligibility guidelines and how to apply for Rural Vocation scholarships, contact Rita Gauthier, Rural Vocation program manager, at 940-257-8013, or visit

CCFW, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, Rural Vocation program, poverty, trending-english