Linda Lael Miller Chooses 15 Women to Help Rewrite Their Life Story
Spokane, WA – Fifteen women, trying to overcome challenges to completing their education, will receive help with educational funding thanks to New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller.
Once a struggling mom herself, the author of more than 100 novels has selected the winners of her 2010 Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women—stipends designated for those 25 and older who typically don’t qualify for traditional scholarships.
“Reading the essays, I was so amazed by the fortitude, commitment and selflessness these women displayed,” said Miller, from her home in Spokane, Wash. “I have also been so humbled by the graciousness and authentic appreciation even those not selected have expressed.”
In its 10th year, the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women received more than 700 applications. Each applicant wrote an essay discussing the challenges to meeting her educational goals. A team, including Miller, judged each essay on readability, demonstration of commitment to the applicant’s education and career, and the possible impact of the scholarship on the life of the recipient, her family and her community.
“I feel so privileged to be able to do something to help women meet their educational and life goals,” said Miller, who funds the scholarship program from her speaking engagements and book-related income.
A regular on the national bestseller lists, Miller knows about crafting an amazing story. She also knows about rewriting her personal life story. Once upon a time, Miller struggled as a young, single mother with limited financial resources.
With perseverance and the support of family, Miller edited her life story to become one of dreams fulfilled. Ten years ago, Miller decided to offer other women the opportunity to rewrite their own story and has offered the scholarship program each year since.
“There are so many women out there who just need a little boost to set them on the way to a better life for themselves and their children,” said Miller. “I know I can’t help them all, but I can help some. I can show them that someone cares.”
Winners may use the scholarship award for tuition and books, but also for child care, transportation and other expenses not covered by traditional scholarships. Miller’s intention for the scholarship program is to help women leap the barriers keeping them from building a better life for themselves and their families.
“I hope that each scholarship has a long-lasting impact on the recipients’ families by demonstrating to their children and their children’s children that a woman can overcome adversity and succeed through education,” said Miller.
The 2010 winners of Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women are:
Tina Bonelli, California
When Tina Bonelli begins to feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges, she turns to her gratitude list. After 30 years of marriage, she was forced to divorce her husband and relinquish her home in order to salvage her life. Friends have stepped in to help the 56-year-old with a room and a borrowed car, but it’s the daily gratitude list that has changed Bonelli’s story from one of inertia to self-reliance.
“I have forced myself to write gratitude lists,” said Bonelli. “Some days, I would write, ‘still breathing.’ Some days I wasn’t sure that ‘still breathing’ was something for which to be grateful, but I kept writing those lists, and found that they were the most effective tool to shifting my energy from negative to positive, and keep my focus placed on what would serve me. The more I was grateful, the more I had to be grateful for.”
Unable to find a job, Bonelli decided to create her own career. She’s working toward a degree in liberal studies so that she may deliver memoir writing workshops at senior centers, retirement centers and community centers.
“It is my firm belief that every life lived is of tremendous worth, and contains gems of learning and inspiration that, if recorded, can be a noble legacy. I believe that in the most ordinary of lives can be found stories of humor, heroism, sacrifice and love.”
Bonelli will use her $800 scholarship for books at Brandman University.
“Completing my education will dramatically improve my story, both in terms of competing in the marketplace and in building my confidence to succeed as I create my own career.”