Simply put, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County exists to enrich the lives of single parents through education. We do this by providing scholarships to economically disadvantaged single parents, allowing them to pursue a certificate, diploma, or degree, and by supporting them with appropriate services that help them stay in school and focus on their studies. This combination of scholarships along with student programs helps eliminate barriers and assists single parents to complete their education. As a result, they are prepared for pre-professional and professional employment, and able to bring themselves and their children out of poverty and into financial independence.
Without the benefit of an education, many single parents are trapped in low-wage jobs, unable to provide for their families without working full-time, perhaps working more than one job, and still depending on food stamps, housing assistance, and other social services. But by giving a parent the gift of an education, you allow them to fully support their family, eliminate their dependence on social services, spend more time with their children and even role-model for their children the importance of completing their education. When you educate a person, you change the lives of generations to come. That is truly an empowering way to serve!
The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County is unique in its approach to serving the whole student. Beyond providing money for tuition, books, and fees, we choose to look at the total student – at the barriers that have prevented them from being in school or staying in school thus far, the needs of their family, and their path in life before they came to us. For example, we find on average that …
Obviously, each of these situations has a significant effect on an individual’s ability to learn. Whether you are working through the haze of physical or emotional pain, lowered self-esteem, or the lack of confidence that comes from experiencing abuse, your mind is understandably clogged with simple survival, making new learning difficult at best. Combine that with the constant worry for your children and working to keep a roof over your heads and food on the table, and you can see why providing more than scholarships is critical to our students’ academic success.
With its strong economic base and lower than average unemployment rate, Benton County enjoys many advantages over the rest of the state. Yet, these advantages are not evenly distributed and more than one-quarter of all Benton County children live in single parent homes and thousands of families struggle below the poverty level. The number of families receiving Medicaid, food stamps, free or reduced school lunches continues to climb each year and the number of adults receiving temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) more than doubled in the past year. Help is needed if these parents are to raise themselves and their children out of poverty, and that help comes in the form of education.
We expect a lot from our students. We also take very seriously the commitment we make to each and every individual accepted into our program. With each student selected, we make a commitment – not just to be here, but to actively support them – financially, emotionally, and academically – through to completion of their course of study and into employment. We make a promise to walk the journey with each student … and we need your support to make that a reality.
The goal of the Light the Future Campaign is to raise $1,000,000 for program support, providing adequate reserves to meet an on-average six year commitment to our students. The recent recession emphasizes the need for strong financial reserves – reserves adequate not just for current award levels, but for projected increases of 7% per year. By securing the financial support of our program, we allow our students to secure a better future for their families.
As you see on the following pledge form, gifts to the Light the Future Campaign are measured in the actual amount of support you can provide to a student enrolled in a certificate or degree program. We have asked for three year pledges, but are happy to work with you to customize your giving. Gifts can be made all at once or in any way or form convenient to you.