When Beth Minor first heard about the New Opportunity School for Women, she was a single mom with a four-year-old daughter and a baby son, living with her parents while going through a divorce and undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.
But she came anyway. She completed the three-week program in the summer of 1988, driving home to Lancaster each evening to be with her children.
“Somehow, there was some particular grace upon me at the time where I had enough resilience and energy to want to participate,” she says. She remembers discovering new books and new ideas.
After NOSW in June, Beth had surgery in July, a complete hysterectomy. Her divorce was final in August. Then she began rebuilding her life.
Thanks to NOSW, she says, “I had a head of steam.” She got an apartment in government housing and, with the help of public assistance, was able to care for her children.
“Certainly those years now seem rather incredible,” she says.
Over time, Beth grew strong. She qualified for an FHA house and moved her children into a new home. She trained to be a dental assistant and worked in dentistry for 13 years. Then, with her children almost grown, she took stock of her life. After talking with NOSW staff and completing vocational rehabilitation, she studied at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy and began a career as a licensed massage therapist that lasted 14 years.
Now retired, Beth lives in Danville and volunteers with Happy Paws, a nonprofit organization that spays and neuters dogs and cats.
After more than 30 years, she is again active with NOSW through the online graduate support groups. In 2021, NOSW honored her with the Woman of Achievement Award.
“Going through the program helped me understand more about the balance of life—what we might see as the extremes of life, and what we perceive as the hardships of life, but the opportunities we might not have experienced without that hardship.”