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Empowering young women

Angie Frederickson
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Joan Karff’s Women on the Way Up

Joan Karff’s Women on the Way Up

Joan Karff’s Women on the Way Up (JKWOWU) held its annual brunch at the home of Christine and Mark Laskin. Board members and alumnae from the high school graduating classes of 2002 through 2023, along with this year’s students (pictured), gathered to celebrate their successes and road to higher education. JKWOWU was created in 2001 by the late Joan Karff and provides a mentorship program and scholarships to underserved girls in the community who attend Lamar High School. Before her passing in 2016, Joan, a mother, grandmother, and dance-company owner, personally mentored more than 150 girls. Continuing her legacy, each year a group of 10 girls begins the year-long program that consists of weekly sessions to learn about everything from current events to world affairs to art, dance, theater, and classical music. Girls also learn about money management and how to navigate relationships and parenting. After completing the program, graduating seniors receive a $1,500 scholarship and laptop computer to continue their education. Since the organization was founded, JKWOWU has provided more than $225,000 in scholarships.

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