It’s amazing what our communities can do when we come together. At the Wyoming County Economic Development Authority, we’ve witnessed the positive impacts of community collaboration firsthand through the annual Wyoming County Community Fund scholarship program.
Since 2011, our colleagues and partners at the Wyoming County Planning Commission, who oversee the WCCF scholarship program, have selected one Wyoming County resident per year with a one-time grant to support their educational pursuits. But the scholarship itself doesn’t just support local folks — it’s funded by local folks, too.
Through our annual fundraisers, the Wyoming County community has been able to assist recipients with their tuition expenses, required textbooks and supplies for classes. This year, we’re fundraising virtually through our Cash Calendar, where one lucky winner will take home $100 or $250 each month.
Kandice Bradford-Hatfield, 22, can attest to the importance of the WCCF scholarship in her education at the Wyoming County Career and Technical Center. As the 2016 WCCF scholarship recipient, Kandice described the grant as a “door that opened up” her dream career path in nursing.
“The scholarship lifted so much weight off my shoulders and put me at ease that I could — and would — successfully complete this chapter towards obtaining my license,” Kandice said. “As many know, nursing school is not easy, and paying for it is no walk in the park either.”
Kandice, now a Licensed Practical Nurse who has found her niche in an urgent care clinic, said the financial support helped alleviate some stress as she completed her studies.
“This scholarship covered half of my tuition cost. Half!” Kandice said. “I am truly grateful for that. It made my life much easier to jump straight into the work field after completing the program and my state boards instead of worrying about paying student loans.”
Kandice said she encouraged other Wyoming County residents to apply for the scholarship, specifically those who were considering continuing their education but weren’t sure if it would be financially feasible.
“Especially for a low income area, this scholarship could make achievements possible for individuals who may have thought they had no other options than to move out of state and other areas,” Kandice said.
Kandice, who recently started a family, has set her sights on her next goal: attend Bluefield State College to complete the LPN to RN program.
Kelsey Mills, 21, who received the 2017 WCCF scholarship, also spoke to the scholarship’s impact in her postgraduate studies. With the assistance of the grant, Kelsey graduated early with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Development from Southern WV Community and Technical College.
“I had always wanted to pursue teaching but was unsure if I was choosing the right path,” Kelsey said, noting that she had also considered nursing. “This scholarship was a sign and validation for me to follow the path that I believe I am meant to do. In the end, I am happy with my decision.”
For Kelsey, the scholarship “was a blessing” that enabled her to attend college close to home as she cared for her daughter.
Kelsey and her husband are currently expecting the arrival of their second child, and she plans to take an educational hiatus to stay home with her children for now.
“In the future this degree will help me provide for my family and for that I am grateful,” Kelsey said, expressing her appreciation for the WCCF. “It helped me tremendously and I know it is helping others, too.”
Tickets for the Wyoming County Community Fund’s 2021 cash calendar fundraiser may be purchased for $25 each online, by phone, in-person at the Wyoming County EDA office at 506A River Road, Pineville, WV, or by mail. Mail should be addressed to:
Wyoming County EDA
PO Box 1828
Pineville, WV 24874
Scholarship eligibility and application
The Wyoming County Community Fund’s one-time $2,500 grant assists eligible Wyoming County residents in their academic pursuits, including: students attending high school in Wyoming County; Wyoming County students enrolled at Wyoming County Career & Technical Center or the McDowell and Wyoming County Campuses of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College; adults returning to school; and those who possess ABE Certificates.
To apply for the WCCF scholarship, download the application here.
To be considered for this scholarship, students must attend or plan to attend Wyoming County Career & Technical Center or Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College’s Wyoming and McDowell County campuses. Funds will be distributed in two increments at the start of the Fall 2021 semester and the Spring 2022 semester.
Once finished, applications should be mailed to:
The WCCF scholarship is just one of the many funds making long-lasting positive changes in the Wyoming County community. Donations may also be directed to supporting the arts, local cemetery upkeeps, children’s funds and elsewhere. To support the WCCF, contact Christy Laxton at firstname.lastname@example.org.