Saint Xavier nursing student wins Swan House
Single mom chosen from more than 200 applicants
Chicago (Oct. 26, 2006) – Saint Xavier University nursing student Lynda Garrison was chosen from hundreds of applicants to receive a new house for her and her daughters to live in.
Garrison met the eligibility requirements “with flying colors” to win a three-bedroom, two-bath home in Riverdale, said Jim Rose, television sports anchor and reporter for WLS-TV (Channel 7). Rose and building contractor Chris Swan formed a nonprofit partnership called the Swan Group to build and donate the home to a deserving single mother.
“We wanted to give it to someone who would take the gift and expand on it. The selection process was very particular,” Rose said. “In Lynda we saw somebody who was sacrificing a ‘normal’ life to ensure her two girls are difference-makers. We expect great things from her, and in turn we expect even greater things from her daughters.”
Garrison had been renting an apartment in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood for her and her daughters, ages 10 and 11. She transferred into Saint Xavier’s nursing program in January 2005 and plans to become a midwife, with an emphasis on helping single mothers.
“I feel obligated to give back. Somebody gave me this house. I want to provide opportunity for others,” said Garrison, who also works part-time in Saint Xavier’s accounting office.
Garrison said she was “shocked” to learn she had won the home. “This is a blessing from God for me and my girls,” she said. “I love the fact that now I have a home for me and my children to grow in. It’s great to be someplace where you can have a stable home to live in.” Meanwhile, her daughters “are ecstatic” about the new home, she said.
To be eligible for the home, Garrison needed to have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and submit a letter explaining why she deserved the home as well as a letter from a dean or professor attesting to her character.
“Lynda has managed to juggle many things in her personal life with her very intense course load, an accomplishment not manageable by many,” Saint Xavier academic adviser Tammy Bobel wrote in her recommendation letter. “She is not only working toward fulfilling her own goal, but has the best interest of her girls in mind every step of the way.”
Garrison said she found out about the contest from a friend who urged her to apply. “I never thought I could win,” she said. She plans to move into her new home in November.
Founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Xavier University is a comprehensive Catholic university serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago and Orland Park. The University offers 35 undergraduate majors and more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing with day, evening and weekend courses to fit busy schedules.
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