S.W.E.E.P. | Southwest Women’s Educational and Empowerment Program
Designed to expand access to higher education for women in Southwest Detroit, S.W.E.E.P. is made possible with the support of many community organizations and cooperation of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Metropolitan Detroit.
The program first offered college courses to a group of 27 women in the Fall of 1998. As of 2011, more than 60 S.W.E.E.P. students have graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Social Work, Child Development, and other programs.
Madonna University and the Thompson Foundation share a belief that low-income students in higher education are a great, untapped resource for Detroit, making the success of S.W.E.E.P. students a positive influence on their communities. The southeast Michigan region directly benefits from the program because our graduates’ salaries have increased, better supporting family financial health, participation in community activism events, and reinforcing pride in their community. Graduates also experience a healthy boost to their self-esteem by completing a goal, so long in the making, all while positively influencing the lives that S.W.E.E.P. students touch along their journey. In the near future, several graduates plan to further their education and get involved in community improvement at the grassroots, nonprofit level, thereby demonstrating belief and hope in the revitalization of their communities.
For 13 years now, the S.W.E.E.P. program has provided access and success in higher education despite the challenge of continued rising costs and diminishing financial aid (federal and state) for low-income students. S.W.E.E.P. students continue to strive for higher education and improve conditions for their families, which in turn improves their neighborhoods. We take great pride in the goals our graduates have reached, the examples they set, and the minds of future community leaders they have opened.