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The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story by Cas­sidy Kendall, pho­tog­ra­phy by Richard Ras­mussen

The Arkansas Sin­gle Par­ent Schol­ar­ship Fund of Gar­land County held its 10th an­nual Sin­gle Par­ent Style Show March 29, rais­ing funds to be uti­lized by Gar­land County sin­gle par­ents qual­i­fy­ing for the schol­ar­ship. ASPSF is a schol­ar­ship awarded to sin­gle par­ents in Arkansas to as­sist with ba­sic fi­nan­cial needs while com­plet­ing their un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree.

Its mis­sion is to “en­able sin­gle par­ents to at­tain self-suf­fi­ciency through post­sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion.”

Hosted at and catered by Hot Springs Coun­try Club, the Style Show cost $30 to at­tend. It in­cluded a wine bar pro­vided by Wine Rack & Spir­its Shoppe owner Cord Kop­kau and an auc­tion of lo­cally do­nated art­work, gift cer­tifi­cates, home dé­cor and jew­elry.

The bou­tiques fea­tured in the style show were Ac­ces­sory Gallery and Sparkle, Doodle­bugs, Chan­tilly and The Trendy Palette Boutique. Each boutique pro­vided its own mod­els. Schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent Kiesha Cum­mings gave her tes­ti­mony dur­ing the event. “Be­ing a sin­gle par­ent is hard, and it’s not meant to be done that way, but the schol­ar­ship helps me pro­vide fi­nan­cially for my daugh­ter,” Cum­mings said.

She said the schol­ar­ship helped keep her daugh­ter, Cor­man, 8, in gymnastics classes — an ac­tiv­ity she loves.

Cum­mings said it’s im­por­tant to go to col­lege as a sin­gle par­ent be­cause it sets a good ex­am­ple for your child.

“Life is hard, and noth­ing is given to you — you have to work for it. So I think you’re not only telling them, but you’re show­ing them hard work and ded­i­ca­tion and that no mat­ter what life throws at you, any­thing is pos­si­ble, you just have to work hard for it.”

Cum­mings, a se­nior at Col­lege of the Oua­chi­tas in Malvern, is ex­pected to grad­u­ate in May with a de­gree in reg­is­tered nurs­ing.

She said when she grad­u­ates and set­tles into a job, she plans to do­nate back to ASPSF.

“It’s a re­ally amaz­ing schol­ar­ship. It’s hard to find fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance (for) non­tra­di­tional stu­dents that have kids and have al­ready tried to go to col­lege once

be­fore, and I just think this schol­ar­ship re­ally takes a look at that and helps with that.”

All funds raised at the style show went to the ASPSF-GC, ben­e­fit­ing re­cip­i­ents that are res­i­dents of Gar­land County at­tend­ing Na­tional Park Col­lege, com­mut­ing to nearby col­leges or any on­line col­lege of their choice.

The schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents can use the money awarded for any necessitie­s such as child care, util­ity bills, school books or gas to travel to school.

Ac­cord­ing to ASPSF, 36 per­cent of Arkansas fam­i­lies are sin­gle-par­ent house­holds, and 47 per­cent of those house­holds live below the poverty line. How­ever, ev­ery ASPSF-GC qual­i­fier is awarded and 90 per­cent of ASPSF work­ing grad­u­ates earn above-poverty wages.

“When they (schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents) raise up out of poverty they’re bring­ing their chil­dren with them, so we’re af­fect­ing two gen­er­a­tions of poverty, and hav­ing a

huge eco­nomic im­pact in Arkansas,” Re­gion 7 pro­gram man­ager Laura Lee Wil­lard said.

ASPSF-GC coun­cil mem­ber Lynn King said most of the schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents come from very dif­fi­cult be­gin­nings, are first-time col­lege stu­dents and have chil­dren they are try­ing to be a role model for.

She said the schol­ar­ship ben­e­fits the re­cip­i­ent, their chil­dren and the com­mu­nity.

“It’s a gift to the com­mu­nity be­cause it pays it­self back, and th­ese (re­cip­i­ents) would other­wise be wel­fare re­cip­i­ents that are try­ing to get out of a re­ally bad rut.”

With the motto of “You can do it! We can help.” ASPSF-GC has helped 725 stu­dents, award­ing a to­tal of $374,503 in schol­ar­ships, since it be­gan in 1992.

ASPSF-GC co-chair He­len Bumpas said ASPSF-GC granted $21,000 in schol­ar­ships this spring se­mes­ter, but there is “al­ways a need for more.”

Ac­cord­ing to an email from Bumpas and ASPSFGC Co-chair Kay Ekey, when Arkansas Gives ended in 2017, the or­ga­ni­za­tion lost ap­prox­i­mately $10,000 in ad­di­tional fund­ing.

ASPSF-GC holds one fundrais­ing event ev­ery year, re­ly­ing on spon­sors and do­na­tions for the rest of its fund­ing.

Event spon­sors in­cluded First Se­cu­rity, Dorothy Mor­ris, Ken and Vicki Cook and Dr. Tim and He­len Bumpas.

Schol­ar­ship spon­sors in­clude South­ern Ban­corp, the Ivy fam­ily, Win­dows USA, Blake and Laura Whit­ley and First Pres­by­te­rian Church.

The ASPSF-GC vol­un­teer coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the event. Coun­cil mem­bers in­clude Bumpas, Ekey, Trea­surer Mandi Krauss, Kala Al­bright, Kristi Barger, Mitzi Bass, Sara Brown, Vicki Cook, Ju­dith Honey, King, Carla Mou­ton, Jan Se­grest and Amy Whor­ton.

In ad­di­tion to coun­cil mem­bers, there are also gen­eral vol­un­teers play­ing a key role in pro­duc­tion — from con­tact­ing lo­cal busi­nesses for auc­tion do­na­tions to pro­mot­ing the event around town.

Wil­lard said ASPSF-GC is brain­storm­ing ad­di­tional fundrais­ing ideas to do through­out the year and is ea­ger to grow their vol­un­teer base to help see th­ese ideas through. For more in­for­ma­tion on vol­un­teer­ing, email vol­un­[email protected]

For more in­for­ma­tion on ASPSF, visit ASPSF.org, and for more in­for­ma­tion on ASPSF-GC, con­tact Wil­lard at [email protected]

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