Single-parent scholarship fund changes lives

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Back in the early '80s, my mother-in-law, Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe, started teaching at a vo-tech school in Springdale, Ark., and working with "displaced homemakers," women who, by reason of divorce or widowhood, found themselves looking for work after years of not working outside the home. Her involvement grew out of graduate research at the University of Arkansas. She helped women with resume preparation, learning how to present oneself in an interview (including learning how to dress for the job hunt), and getting additional education and training. Many of her clients still had children at home, and they often ran into financial obstacles that forced them to drop out of classes. It might be as simple as the car breaking down and needing to work overtime to pay for the repairs. There were expenses that financial aid through the school would not cover. So she started a scholarship fund in her home county, Benton County, to meet those needs.

Yesterday's Benton County Daily Record reported on a volunteer appreciation luncheon marking the 25th anniversary of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County. According to the story, since 1984 the fund "has awarded more than 4,987 scholarships totaling $3,478,943." According to the program website:

Designed to supplement existing government assistance, college grants and loans, the scholarships awarded by Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County encourage students to enter school and prevent them from dropping out of school because of unexpected financial hardships. Often times, scholarship funds are used for:
  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Housing & utilities
  • Medical insurance
  • School supplies
  • Glasses
  • Computers and desks
  • Other day-to-day necessities
  • Clothing, food and necessities for children


Here are a couple of stories from scholarship recipients:

Christie Parvin-Vogel is one of the many whose lives have been changed by Single Parent Scholarships.

"I came into the program as a 19-year-old mother of a baby boy," Parvin-Vogel said. "I knew I needed to go to college and have an education so I could support myself and my child, but there were no scholarships available to me."

Through the Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Parvin-Vogel was able to get two associate degrees and later a bachelor's degree in computer information systems and a master's degree in management information systems.

"SPSF has been a blessing to me not only because of the money, but because of you guys," Parvin-Vogel said, referencing a room filled with people who helped launch the program 25 years ago.

Another scholarship recipient, Geri Lovelace-Lee, told of her decision to apply for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund: "When I came to a crossroads where I found myself without a car, without a home, and I had these two children and a few pieces of furniture, I knew I had to do something. This program not only helped us with an education, but it came full circle. It helped with everything in life. Thank you," she said.

Anyone know if such a program exists in Tulsa?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 17, 2009 10:14 PM.

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