Five women get life-changing help thanks to a Knoxville non-profit

Knoxville non-profit Hand UP for Women hosts a graduation ceremony for five women in its 17th class.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 12:22 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Hand UP for Women, a non-profit, is making a positive impact on the lives of women in Knoxville.

After years of personal hardship, five women completed a goal setting, financial management and networking program, making them the 17th class to graduate. The graduation ceremony, hosted by Hand UP for Women, took place on Sunday at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in the Watershed Building.

Executive Director for Hand UP for Women, Eva Pierce, explained how the program is helping change women’s lives.

“There is hope, there is help. All you have to have is the motivation to make a commitment to 12 months of classes. To meeting with a mentor who has nothing but your best interest at heart and take in your place in another family,” Pierce said.

According to the Hand UP for Women website, they offer the following classes:

  • Goal-setting
  • Networking & Community Resources
  • Improving self-concept
  • Anger Management
  • Forgiving yourself and others
  • Choices and consequences
  • Making peace with your past
  • Financial management
  • Relationship issues

Hand UP for Women was founded in 1996, as a response to the overwhelming number of women living in poverty and on public assistance because they had no support to do differently.

The non-profit provides support systems by having small classes to make an individual investment in each woman’s life. Some women have struggled with addiction, abuse, financial hardships and other challenges, according to Hand UP for Women.

Athena Gray, a graduate of the program, who lost custody of all five of her children and was addicted to drugs, said she was surprised by how much of an impact the program would have on her life.

“The love that this program has given me, I did not expect,” Gray said.

Gray said her journey to bettering herself was made possible by the program.