United Way of Fort Smith has a yearly campaign called Day of Caring, and we have had the pleasure of being involved last year & again this year. The Day of Caring is such a wonderful day! There were almost 100 projects needing volunteers today. The beauty is many, many projects were able to be completed today. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to know you are part of such an impactful day. I must mention there were projects that did not have enough volunteers to complete them throughout the River Valley area so if you are thinking about volunteering next year please do! The fellow Chelsey & I had on our team, Larry was from a company that took volunteers then held a drawing for who could go and represent the company. There were so many volunteers, and some companies can send more than others so please check with your employer & see what options they will give you for volunteer hours.
Our mission today was to go spread the word about the Single Parent Scholarship Fund (Crawford, Franklin, Sebastian Counties). There were four teams going to all the areas within the three county area. Before I tell you about our adventure I’ll tell you more about the Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
To qualify for a scholarship, you must
- Reside in Crawford, Franklin or Sebastian County, Arkansas
- Be single head of household with sole custody of children under the age of 18
(single refers to legally separated, divorced, widowed, or never having been married)
- Apply for a Pell Grant and provide a copy of award or denial letter
- Be enrolled for the scholarship term
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. Alternative grading/certification may be considered
for trade school or other types of students
- Complete an interview with the Single Parent Scholarship committee.
An interview will be scheduled with for each applicant following the application deadline.
- Part-time students must take at least 6 credit hours
This scholarship fund is for moms & dads who have sole custody of their kids & can be used for trade schools like welding & cosmetology as well as for college.
Back to the mission. We went to Hartford, Hackett, Greenwood and Southside High Schools to meet with their counselors & tell them about the fund. The counselors had been contacted & were expecting representatives to come speak with them.
The drive to Hartford was beautiful, I’d never been there before. I was a ways a way, but it was pretty, and Chelsey, Larry & I had a lot to talk about since we had never met him before. The counselor there was so nice. She said she has had some students who have benefitted from the scholarship before. She talked with us about how nice it would be if they could get childcare made available at the school to help make school more accessible for young parents.
We then made our way back to Hackett High School. It must be said, that school (cosmetically speaking) was awesome! I don’t know when the counselors building was built, but it was classic. The floors were shiny wood, the halls cinder with photos of graduating classes from days long passed. The sidewalks were lined with the names of the graduates; the piece of history I walked on was from 1958! The counselor was a bundle of joy & was spectacular to talk to about the scholarship.
We then made our way to Greenwood High School. The campus was very nice. We couldn’t all go in because we car pooled & I happened to be the only one who had a driver’s license on me. 🙂 (the security was more strict there than we had faced) I was able to meet with the counselor, and she was also happy to have information about the scholarship. She also asked about whether boys qualify. I think we sometimes forget it’s not just single moms out there hoping to make a better life for their children.
After we made the trek all the way back to Fort Smith we made it to Southside High School. That place was crazy town! I couldn’t even tell you how many kids were in the office & how much delivered lunch was on the counter! When we were walking from the office to the counselor’s office we ran into a delivery guy who had both arms full of sacks; must have been 15 meals he was carrying! I don’t know why that amazed me…that just didn’t happen at my school. Anyway, back to the important stuff…we met with one of the counselors and she was also super nice. I don’t know how many counselors or students they have there, but that place is bustling.
It was very clear meeting with the counselors they care very much about the students & hope for the best for their futures.
When we got back to the offices of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund we had a quick lunch with Owen Shakelford, Executive Director for the fund. Owen told us how he ended up as the director after a long career in political campaigning. I thought it was quite interesting. We talked about the different methods & strategies they do to get the word out about the scholarship. As with anything worth hearing about, the more people who know about it the better. Their website does have a lot of information about eligibility, volunteer opportunities, and a place to donate so be sure to check it out.
Here’s a link to the United Way facebook where they put up pictures of some of the volunteer activities going on today. I would strongly encourage anyone to participate next year if that’s an option available to you. It’s so worth it.