Sue Tull Joins In To Support Single Parent Scholarship Fund

Education is a gift that sometimes is taken for granted. School is berated by weary students; working professionals remember their college years as a time of fun, not necessarily a period of academic achievement. However, for many people, even in the United States, higher education is not an option, either because of monetary responsibilities or life circumstances that trump access to further education. This is why the Single Parent Scholarship Fund (SPSF) organization exists—to provide opportunities that would otherwise be nonexistent.

“The mission of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund is to support high-potential single parents with financial needs in Pulaski County to achieve their goals of a higher education,” said Sue Tull, a senior vice president in wealth management at First Security Bank. “This is accomplished through a living expense scholarship, because the ability to pay for these necessities can often mean the difference between staying enrolled and dropping a class.”

Tull is not only a member of the SPSF board but also an advocate for education, which has always been a personal priority. “My mom had a gift for teaching and instilled in all of her kids the importance of education in life,” she explained. Tull admits that she could write a book on the importance of education in life because “education holds the key to a better quality of life for anyone but especially single parents.”

And Tull is no stranger to the difficulties of being a single parent; she is one herself. As a single mother to Jake (who passed away in 2009) and 21-year-old Kathryn, she has gone through her share of hardships. “My role as a single mother truly defines who I am,” she said. “I wear the role of single motherhood like a badge of honor. It has been a gift to be a single mom in so many ways. I do want to say up front that I am so very lucky because I have a very supportive ex-husband. I never discount or forget that!”

While the journey has had its challenges, she said the blessings have been far greater. That is one of the reasons SPSF has such significance for Tull because she can identify with the men and women on a level that many cannot. “This organization has spoken to me for a lot of reasons, but because of my own life experiences, I feel that I can add value,” she said.

She understands that single parenting can be a balancing act. “Sometimes I had so many things in the air that a few dropped, but I always had to be certain the kids and my job remained a priority.” While Tull’s main focus has been her kids and work, she realizes that the recipients of the SPSF usually have quite a lot more to keep in play. With families, children, school and work, it is a wonder these men and women have time to do much else. “I cannot even imagine adding school on top of the work and kids,” she said, “but many of the scholarship recipients have said one of their biggest supports is their children, because their kids are invested in their education endeavors. Both the recipients and their children are amazing to me.”

SPSF is able to support and grant scholarships through the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations in Arkansas, and this year the SPSF partnered with Soirée to raise funds for the scholarship programs and honor mothers in May.

“The fundraising event provided a medium to honor a special woman, be it your mom, grandmother, aunt, sister or just a mother figure to you,” said Tull. “For a small donation the SPSF has listed your sentiment in this issue of Soirée and concurrently sent the honoree a card letting them know they have been honored.”

While sending a card and listing a name is a simple tribute, Tull said the recipients feel the sentiment is huge. The contribution is also huge because of the organization it supports. The tributes honor not only those listed in the magazine but also the current and future recipients of SPSF scholarships.

“Life is full of choices,” said Tull, “but I think those choices are fewer for single parents when it comes to personal life and doing things for yourself.” One of the reasons Tull passionately supports SPSF is the opportunities it gives to single parents, men and women, who want to better themselves and their families through education.

“I hope to be a role model for the SPSF recipients, the way my friends have been to me. I did it the easy way—I had a college degree and career started before I became a single parent.”

Quick Bites

Soirée: Weirdest thing you’ve eaten?
Tull: Fluorescent green rice in Tanzania – no clue what that green stuff was but I was hungry!        

Favorite restaurant in Little Rock, and what do you order there?
Gosh I have a lot of favorites but I love the Lump Crab and Potato Hash on the 1620 Sunday brunch menu.

Favorite restaurant in the world, and what do you order there?

Au Pied de Cochon ( The Pig’s Foot) in Montreal, Canada. The restaurant is owned by the “Wild Chef” who has his own show on the Canadian Food network.  My daughter and I ate there for Thanksgiving in 2009.  We ate “Duck in a Can” and Cromesquis foie gras (croquette).

Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I love to grill outside–Turkey burgers, blackened salmon and veggie skewers are my current favorites!

What dish most reminds you of home/childhood and why?
Meatloaf – My mom was a “meat and potatoes” kind of cook growing up and I remember having the same thing on each night of the week. If it is Monday we must be having meatloaf!

A Celebration Dinner honoring Governor Mike Beebe for his leadership in higher education and to benefit the Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
6 p.m., Thursday, May 19
Embassy Suites   
Aspsf.org

 

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