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When Meghan found herself pregnant, she knew she had to turn things around to make a good life for her soon-to-arrive son. With help from her family, she became a certified nurse assistant and embarked on a new life. She knew that she wanted a college degree as a part of that new life, but she also knew that her previous attempts at college and a low GPA would be an obstacle. She stumbled on a solution when a neighbor told her about the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas.
Meghan applied to the scholarship program but didn’t qualify the first time. That didn’t keep the organization’s program director, Carrie Montgomery, from helping her. Carrie helped her map out a plan to qualify for a scholarship. Meghan followed all of Carrie’s direction, started reviving her GPA, and qualified for a scholarship the second time she applied. With the financial and emotional support she received from the organization, Meghan was able to become a registered nurse and has been working full time as a nurse for the last year and a half.
This story is not uncommon. Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA and their fellow affiliates across the state are making sure that single parents have the opportunity to pursue education so they can provide for their families.
Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas has been serving Carroll, Madison and Washington since 2009. But its history stretches back to 1984 when Ralph Nesson and Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe founded Single Parent Scholarship Fund in Washington County and Benton County as two separate organizations. The initial success of the concept and these two organizations led to the formation of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund in 1990. Today, the statewide organization manages scholarship funds for 63 counties, while eight other affiliates operate independently in their areas.
These single parent scholarship funds are making a dramatic impact in their communities and increasing the quality of life for thousands of Arkansas families. Over the last 30 years, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas has awarded more than 4,500 scholarships worth nearly $4 million dollars. Annually they award approximately $300,000 to deserving single parents. Statewide, all of the Arkansas affiliates award more than $1,000,000 in scholarships for students.
Meghan and her two children are one of those families whose quality of life is dramatically improved because of her education. As the back-to-school season approaches, she is happy that she can now breathe easier because her bills are paid, and she can shop with her children for things they need. More than that, though, Meghan has dramatically increased the probability that her children will go to college, too. Her story isn’t done yet, however. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Spanish while working full time. She wants to become a nurse practitioner and serve victims of domestic violence who need medical attention and emotional support. No doubt she’ll do just that.
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