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Phoenix Forward

America’s Most Inspirational Moms win scholarships

Lorrie Wolfe, America's Most Inspirational Mom

Motherhood is a tough job under any circumstances. But the three moms who received this award are truly exceptional.

Last November, Lucille O’Neal, Boys & Girls Clubs of America© and Kimberly-Clark Corporation© launched the America’s Most Inspirational Mom search. The mission: to find three moms who inspire others with their community involvement, perseverance and commitment to education. All three were rewarded with full scholarships to cover tuition for an undergraduate degree at University of Phoenix.

Sue Trnka

 is a single mother of three who has worked as a legal secretary, a community organizer and a board member for multiple nonprofits. Currently a project coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes, Minn., Trnka also serves as elected mayor of her hometown of Waubun, Minn.

Having children young interrupted her college plans, but now that her kids are older, she wants to focus on completing her education. Trnka, a runner-up for the award, plans to get her business administration degree at University of Phoenix.

“I would like to continue to work in the nonprofit sector, perhaps as a consultant who can assist organizations in doing the best job they can to achieve their mission,” she says.

I want to show my children that anything is possible, and to never let anything stand in the way of achieving their dreams.

Karen Baker,

 of Little Rock, Ark., is another single mother who balances a demanding job with motherhood. While working as a regional operations manager for a midsized company, she is also raising six children who range in age from 3 to 18 — three of her own kids and three nephews of whom she has custody.

“I [have] worked hard to provide for my children even though I was basically a child myself [when I had them] and had no leadership or guidance growing up,” she says.

Baker, who is a runner-up for the award, will study global business management at University of Phoenix. She plans to use her education to advance her career and inspire her children.

“I want to show my children that anything is possible, and to never let anything stand in the way of achieving their dreams,” she says. ”Education is something … that I will conquer.”

Lorrie Wolfe,

 the America’s Most Inspirational Mom award recipient, has overcome many obstacles as a domestic-violence survivor and as a single mother of three, including one child with Asperger’s syndrome and another with ADHD.

Wolfe applies her personal experience to her work with at-risk youth. As a project coordinator with the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Hickory, N.C., she administers a gang-awareness and prevention program.

Wolfe received a laptop as the recipient of the top award, and plans to use her scholarship to study criminal justice administration. Her post-graduation goal is to become a youth advocate in the juvenile justice system and to one day open her own Boys & Girls Club.

“I love what I do with at-risk youth,” she explains. “But I want to take it to a higher level so I can make a greater impact.”


Kimberly-Clark is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc.
Boys & Girls Club of America is a registered trademark of Boys & Girls Club of America Corp.

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