Northwest Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund leaders and other backers celebrated the merger of SPSF of Benton County and SPSF of Northwest Arkansas on July 7 at Record in Bentonville. Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas now serves Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.
Shelle Summers, board chairwoman, told those gathered: "It's obvious that both Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas and Benton County share a rich history, [having been] founded in 1984 by Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe and Ralph Nesson after realizing a need for supportive services for single mothers living in poverty who were looking to further their education. Over the past 37 years, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas and Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County have collectively given away 20,160 scholarships, totaling over $15.3 million dollars and impacting thousands of families."
Heather Hodge, scholarship alumna, shared her experiences with SPSF NWA: "Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County worked with me to ensure that my college journey would be a success. We designed an academic path together. They supplied me with invaluable resources and contacts to help me with my questions on this new journey." She said the group's addition of counseling services "allowed me to learn how to be confident, deal with my wounds and heal from them. I learned how to manage stress as a single mom and a student." Hodge graduated in May from the University of Akansas with a Bachelor's degree in journalism and works for Acorn advertising agency.
Hillary Bell, a current SPFSF NWA scholarship recipient, said when she completes her degree at UA in communications, African American studies and human development and family science she plans to "create educational programs that teach life, personal development and leadership skills for our youth to help set them up for success as they transition into early adulthood."
The group awards traditional scholarships, "for students seeking an associate, bachelor's, Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), and licensure in cosmetology or massage therapy at approved institutions" along with healthcare career and vocational education scholarships "for students pursuing healthcare or professional certifications at approved institutions (NWTI, UAMS/Schmieding Center, Petra Allied Health, PRN, North Arkansas College or NWACC) and various courses at the University of Arkansas Global Campus.
Tyler B. Clark, CEO, concluded the celebration with a look to the organization's future. "We are excited about broadening our scholarship and supportive services programming with hopes that we will also provide more scholarships to single parent families -- and further strengthen our Northwest Arkansas economy."
Additional and expanded offerings include:
• Traditional Degree Programs: Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's scholarships at 11 partnership institutions and another 11 approved institutions for applicants to choose from;
• Credentialing and work force development scholarships at six locations;
• Base scholarship additions which include full-time, three-quarter, and half-time terms;
• Grade point average awards;
• Financial planning and budgeting materials through a variety of outlets;
• Behavioral health counseling services for recipients and their children;
• Access to computers, printing and copying;
• Career development counseling, resume and interview coaching;
• Learning coach services;
• Non-food/dry pantry;
• Dental, eyecare and chiropractic services;
• Community resources such as car repair;
• Technology needs or rental deposit assistance; and
• Access to other community non-profits through referrals.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at email@example.com.
At a Glance
Who: Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas
What: Leaders and other backers celebrated the merger of SPSF of Benton County and SPSF of Northwest Arkansas.
When: July 7
Where: Record in Bentonville
Next: Aug. 31 — Spark of Hope; Oct. 16-30 — Golftoberfest; Dec. 9 — Jingle Mingle
Information: (479) 254-8550 or spsfnwa.org