Theta Foundation Grants Help Members Achieve Their Goals: One Theta's Story

Category: Foundation

Alexa Bigwarfe

Zeta Kappa, South Carolina

Sometimes, we have goals and dreams to do things bigger than ourselves, but we need a little support to get there. Two times in my life, I have had the need for this help and support, and Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation’s programs have been there for me. This is sisterhood.

I’m glad that I have stayed close to Theta since graduating 20 years ago (eek!). I have held a position in my local alumnae chapter every year since it was established, with the exception of the timeframe during which I was hospitalized for over a month because my babies were dying in utero. My identical twin daughters suffered from a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. They were born early, and due to the horrific impact of this disease on her heart and lungs, my sweet Kathryn died at just two days old. Our other tiny little champ, weighing in at 1 lb 10 oz at birth, spent three months in the NICU. I am proud to report she is a healthy eight-year-old. During this horrific stage of life, my sisters were there for me.

My heart for service and a desire to help other grieving mothers led me to write a book collaboratively with other grieving parents: Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to send them to mothers, at no charge, so I launched a nonprofit: Sunshine After the Storm. For years, I have been sending care packages, free of charge, to mothers to bring them love and light in their darkest moment. My Theta sisters have been a tremendous support by donating products, money, and time to support this effort.

When I entered the phase of feeling mostly healed and ready to give more, I began an annual healing retreat. Having no professional training in grief recovery, other than my own experience and many conversations with other grieving mothers, I knew that I should acquire some level of training and certification. So, I sought out a program to attend. Around this time, Theta Foundation announced the availability of the Chapter & Individual Grant applications. I did my research and learned that this type of certification was one that was eligible for a grant, so I applied.

Theta showed up in a big way for me, again. I was awarded a grant for almost the entire cost of the program. $1,800 may not seem like a large sum of money to some people, but $1,800 was a game changer for me. The program fee was significant enough that without the grant, I would have likely postponed the training.

I received my certification as a grief recovery specialist in October 2019. In November 2019, I ran my first grief recovery program. During this program, I was able to support my Theta sister, whose husband died unexpectedly that fall. It was a beautiful and special experience to walk that journey with her.

I believe the good we do in this world is circular. Thetas make donations to Theta Foundation. I made a request. I received funding and was able to attend a training that will help many people. But, the first person I helped was another Theta. Full circle.

It won’t always work out this way. But if you’re seeking a change in your life or need funds to get a certification, increase your knowledge, or do something that can help you improve yourself or the lives of others, Theta is there for you. Always and loyally.

To apply for a Theta Foundation grant, visit the Apply for Scholarships & Grants page of the Theta website. The Q4 deadline is April 14, 2021.