Secret Lives of OhioHealth: Sending out an "SOS" for Women in Need
Going back to school as an adult is no small feat. But, can you imagine going back after just breaking free from a domestic violence situation – suddenly having to manage school, work, kids and life all on your own?
Bethany Kravitz, BSN, RN, administrative nurse manager for the Cardiac Intermediate Unit at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, knows exactly what it's like.
After spending years in an abusive marriage, Kravitz and her 4-year-old son, Bryce, broke free in 2007 to start a whole new life. As the sole provider for her family, she needed to increase her earning potential to make ends meet for the long run.
So Kravitz applied to go back to nursing school, and even found scholarships and grants to help cover tuition costs. But, with a shattered local support system and a very limited income, she didn't know how she would be able to afford childcare so she could go to class. She knew she needed help.
Kravitz's divorce attorney recommended she look into Scholarship Opportunities for Success (SOS), a grassroots nonprofit financial aid program designed to support central Ohio women who want to end the cycle of poverty by furthering their education. The program caters especially to women who have experienced trauma, abuse, addiction and other major life setbacks.
"I'll never forget it," said Kravitz. "The day I got accepted into nursing school was the same day I got into SOS. It was perfect!"
SOS offers more than 20 scholarships annually, helping recipients cover tuition, childcare, computer and technology expenses, books, bus passes, gas cards … whatever is needed to keep the educational journey going strong.
For three years, SOS covered the full cost of little Bryce's childcare so Kravitz could attend classes and earn her nursing degree.
After completing nursing school in 2010, Kravitz wanted to give back through volunteering and fundraising efforts for SOS. In 2015, Kravitz became the first-ever SOS recipient to become a board member. She considers it a privilege to mentor scholarship recipients and share her story of hope and healing with others.
"SOS was there for me when I really needed help," said Kravitz. "They paid for my childcare and helped out with gas. But, most importantly, they believed in me even when I wasn't able to believe in myself."
Kravitz was one of the first SOS success stories. Now happily remarried to husband Robin –who is also an SOS sponsor – with four beautiful children – twin stepdaughters Caitlin and Courtney, 17, son Bryce, now 16, and daughter Sage, 7 – Kravitz balances her OhioHealth career with ever-growing responsibilities at home and in her community.
In the decade since becoming an SOS recipient, giving back and paying it forward have become Kravitz family values, sparked by sincere gratitude.
"My kids love volunteering with me at SOS events," said Kravitz. "It's just something we do."
Kravitz's professional commitment to healing at Grant overflows into her personal commitment to healing through SOS. As a recipient, volunteer, board member, mentor and advocate, she knows what "sending out an SOS" really looks like: Healing hearts. Inspiring growth. Saving lives.
Have you or a woman you know suffered trauma, abuse or a major life setback? You can complete a free scholarship application at SOSGrants.org.
This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.