WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Paying it forward. That’s what the non-profit organization, AWE, is doing.
AWE stands for the Alliance of Women Executives and supports graduating high school girls from Palm Beach County who are staying local and attending either Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, or Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Young women like Andrea Carey who is a determined 18-year-old.
"I want to be an attorney when I grow up," Andrea said.
This rising sophomore at Florida Atlantic University made sure she had the grades to get into the FAU honors college, and also had a plan for paying for it.
"It's really important these days to not only go to college," said Andrea. "And do well but figure out how to pay because college is expensive. So you need those scholarships and extra help sometimes."
One of Andrea's many scholarships and extra help came from Vicki Tate. A former professional recruiter in Palm Beach County, she founded the non-profit, Alliance of Women Executives, or AWE.
"I had an idea of bring women together so we could network in a different way but give back to our community," Vicki Tate said. "I invited my girlfriends over and in three to four hours AWE was named, born and we were ready to go. It has taken off since then."
Vicki, along with her AWE members and donors is helping ease the financial burden for Palm Beach County grads like Andrea by offering scholarships to those who are staying local for college.
For Andrea, staying local was an easy decision.
"I chose to stay here because staying local helps you build upon already established relationships and I'm grateful to meet people like AWE who are local, " she said. "They back me up in anything I choose to do. So that's why I stay local. It helps you become a stakeholder in your community even more."
"It's amazing, said Vicki. We've given 55 scholarships in literally 4 years.
Twenty scholarships were awarded in May during a virtual ceremony.
Andrea, a 2020 recipient and was honored to speak at the event.
AWE offers training opportunities for the girls as well, such as the public speaking program, Toastmasters.
"Toastmasters really helped build the confidence in order for me to get in front of a crowd and speak and be able to speak with poise and they really just helped me," said Andrea.
Skills that Andrea's mom and dad are already confident will pay off and lead to a successful law career. They say she's going to make a great lawyer one day.
Seeing young women like Andrea succeed makes Vicki want to do even more.
"This is better than anything I've ever done," she said. "This matters. It matters to Palm Beach County. It matters to the girls and it matters to me."
AWE is member-based and if you would like to get more information about this non-profit, click here.