Three young Madison County women from impoverished families are going to college, thanks to the organization Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty (MadCAAP).

Arius Nicholson and Gleneisha Thomas of Canton and Alexis Davis, who recently moved to Madison from Jackson, became the first recipients of the HOPE Scholarship this semester.

The 2019 HOPE Scholarships — the acronym for which stands for Helping to Overcome Poverty’s Effects — is paid for through the profits from the sale of Project HOPE jewelry in 2018.

The three recipients are already enrolled in college.

Thomas is a nursing student at Alcorn State University who said she wants to set an example for her younger siblings.

“I have a passion for helping others,” she said. “I don’t want to become stuck in poverty, living from paycheck to paycheck.”

Davis is also pursuing a medical degree and started at Hinds Community College. She wants to become a medical billing specialist or records clerk, and considers herself a good example of what a dedicated, hard-working single mom should be.

“Education improves your personal life and helps give a sense of self-worth,” she said.

Nicholson is a Dean’s List scholar at Hinds Community College who is pursuing a degree in education. She reported that her semester was already off to a great start.

“I have been let down by so many jobs and it’s time I become the teacher I dreamed to be,” she said.

MadCAAP programs have continued to expand over the past 34 years to provide services for the approximately 2,800 client families registered in Madison County that are below the federally defined poverty level.

For more information on MadCAAP, visit www.MadCAAP.org or call (601) 407-1404.