Since 2005 Ann Elms helped 15 students go to college with full ride scholarships, and Texas Wesleyan is near the top of the listings.
Some of the other schools attended by those students are the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of Houston, and many others.
In 2005, Elms started to work with the Circle of Winners program for the Northside Inter-Church Agency after the agency had received a Community Youth Development grant. This grant would allow students to “work” for college money.
“It was a God deal, “Elms said. The grant was a God deal to Elms because it allowed students to earn money for college, apply for scholarships and teach the students interviewing techniques for when applying for jobs.
Students are interviewed by Elms and have the chance to explain to her what they wanted to do in life and how being in the program would benefit them. Students then go to NICA about four times a week to volunteer.
When Elms met Patricia O’Neal, owner of O’Neal Oil and Gas, at a Rotary Club meeting things began to click for the Circle of Winners program.
O’Neal told Elms she wanted to meet the Circle of Winners’ participants. When O’Neal met the first group of winners, she promised the students she would pay for their college educations.
Elms helped various students from straight-A students to teen mothers. Among the teen mothers is senior Political Science major Lizbeth Lopez who is attending the University of North Texas.
“A lot of my mentors kind of were disappointed and judged me,” Lopez said, “but Ann was disappointed. At the same time, she spoke to me and told me this is just another obstacle you can overcome,” Lopez said.
Check out The Rambler print editon on Nov. 6 for more details.