Tonawanda News — In 2005 Sharon Morgan was working full time, going to college at the University at Buffalo for a degree in social work and raising a son as a single mom. She had separated from her son’s father after more than a year of abuse and she was on her own, struggling to take care of her small family without any child support.
It wasn’t easy, she said, and it’s not something many people may be able to juggle if they were in her shoes.
Morgan, who lives in Amherst right near the Town of Tonawanda border, has since spent more than a decade as a domestic violence advocate at the YWCAs of the Tonawandas, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and, most recently, the Family Justice Center in Buffalo.
She recently began her own jewelry-making business, Lunar Light Studio, thanks in part to a business workshop program, Project Fresh Start, at Everyone Woman Opportunity Center Inc. funded by Verizon Wireless Foundation.
After just a few months of taking workshops on how to develop a business plan and promote her small business online, and getting advice from retired businesspeople at Buffalo Niagara SCORE, Morgan had learned the skills needed to apply for the Verizon Wireless Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant. Verizon awarded $5,000 to Morgan, money she was able to put toward advertising and supplies for her small, but growing handmade jewelry business.
“It helped me immensely because I’m a single parent and receive no financial help for my son,” Morgan said of the funds.
And while Morgan was just the first Buffalo-area businesswoman to be awarded the grant — Verizon has handed out a total of 14 grants worth $60,000 across the state — Everywoman Opportunity Center Executive Director Myrna F. Young said the program and grant opportunity opens the door for other domestic violence survivors to get a much-needed leg up.