The Gatehouse nonprofit celebrates first graduates of new program

the gatehouse nonprofit celebrates first graduates of new program

NBCDFW.com

This summer The Gatehouse in Grapevine marked a milestone. The first women enrolled in the nonprofit's new Education Track Program graduated from college.

"I still haven't really, like, accepted that I'm an actual graduate," The Gatehouse Education Track graduate Zaryia Whitaker said. "It's such a blessing. Like, I've dreamed of that moment for so long."

Whitaker was a nursing student at Texas Woman's University who was stretched thin.

"Looking for jobs, while also needing childcare to be secure, but can't afford childcare because I don't have a good job," Whitaker, a single mother of young twin boys said. "I felt like I was screaming for help and, like, there was no help to be found."

A friend suggested The Gatehouse's new Education Track Program, which allows women who are enrolled in college to live at The Gatehouse rent-free. Utilities and childcare are also provided at no charge.

"I was like, this sounds amazing! I don't know if it's real, but I'm going to look into it," Whitaker said. She applied that day. "It just so happened to be the date the application was due."

"So The Gatehouse aims to eliminate the common obstacles that are preventing women from being able to succeed in our community," The Gatehouse Program Director Chelsea Hinman said. "Some of those major barriers right off the bat are housing and childcare."

The Education Track Program started in response to the pandemic.

"What we started noticing is an influx of women, more specifically single moms, applying into our program stating that they need to go back to school to increase their earning potential," Hinman said. "The goal of The Gatehouse program is to turn tax consumers into taxpayers."

Women can stay at the Gatehouse for up to two years while they attend school, graduate, and start their careers.

"Like, all the things that was stressing me out, making it hard to live, I feel like The Gatehouse just eliminated all of it," Whitaker said. 'I was able to grow so quickly!"

In May, Whitaker was among the first graduates in The Gatehouse Education Track Program. In July, she will start work as a nurse in a local hospital burn unit. Whitaker hopes to get her master's degree one day.

"I feel like the sky's the limit," Whitaker said smiling.

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