The SWM Story
Mary Torrence Williams, who founded the organization in 2004, knows all about the challenges of growing up without a mother. Mary lost her mother when she was just 14 years old. As Mary cleaned her high school principal's home to earn money for her class ring, she made a promise to herself: when she became successful, she would work hard to help other young people in similar situations.
Mary was reminded of that promise when her own daughter made her aware of a student in a similar situation. This student, whose mother had also passed away, was cooking meals at home and selling them to other students to fund her college application fees. Mary was inspired to do something about it--and founded Students Without Mothers.
The SWM scholarship program is designed to be life-sustaining and provides an opportunity for students to "pay it forward". Students who benefit from the program are asked to help other students in the way they were once helped, once they are in a position to do so. This help may be provided in many forms including peer counseling, financial support, internships, or other ways.
Since it's inception in 2004, Students Without Mothers has provided 63 students with four year scholarships in the amount of $4,000 each. The funds are provided in annual disbursements of $1,000 as long as the students continue to meet the requirements to remain in the program.