Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund creates life-changing opportunities for families by empowering low-income single mothers and fathers to pursue their education, increase their earning potential and raise the standard of living for themselves and their families.
The only organization of its kind, ASPSF works to remove barriers to success through a holistic approach. The organization offers both financial assistance and personal support including mentoring, developmental workshops and career coaching. Their mission is to walk alongside each student, supporting them through school into sustainable employment with family-supporting wages.
Here are some of the ways ASPSF is impacting Arkansans.
Scholarships: ASPSF awards flexible scholarships to help with what single-parent students need most. The unique organization gives scholarship recipients discretionary money to pay for simple things that often create the biggest barriers to education. This can include obvious costs such as tuition and textbooks, but many recipients use funds to cover childcare costs while they attend class or buy gas to get to and from campus. Without this additional support, students’ financial struggles might otherwise force them to drop out of school before graduating.
Personal Development: Single parenting is nothing if not a balancing act. As part of its holistic approach, ASPSF offers a wide variety of workshops to help recipients as they juggle work, school and parenting responsibilities. Offerings include budget cooking classes to help students make the most of their resources and personal finance training to help graduates manage their new income.
Professional Development: With a goal of building a more qualified Arkansas workforce and helping single parents increase their income, ASPSF provides a myriad of professional development opportunities. Workshops cover job skills training to help students secure jobs and soft skills training to help them excel in their new careers.
Like-Minded Community: The community created through ASPSF workshops and other events offers a wealth of benefits. Many students form lasting friendships and almost all are inspired by seeing others facing similar challenges to their own. They are reminded they are not alone in their pursuit.
Emotional Support: While their scholarships and workshops are certainly gamechangers, many ASPSF students say the encouragement they receive is just as impactful. A large number of scholarship recipients are first-generation students unfamiliar with secondary education. ASPSF staff and volunteers work hard to provide mentoring and resources to help parents during their time in school.
“When they picked me, I thought ‘Wow, they really think I’m going to be able to do this. They really think I’m going to be smart enough to pull this off,’" ASPSF alumni Suzan says. "The scholarship gave me my first dose of confidence that I really needed.”
With the help of donors and volunteers across the state, ASPSF introduces families to the incredible power of education as they work to break the cycle of poverty in Arkansas. Learn how you can support their mission at aspsf.org/support-us.