In October, we were honored to have Dr. Tererai Trent speak at Family Scholar House’s annual luncheon. In addition to sharing her personal educational journey, she explained her perspective that there are two kinds of hunger – the little hunger for material wants and needs and the big hunger for a meaningful life. While the disadvantaged parent scholars that we serve at Family Scholar House have a hunger for the basic necessities to care for themselves and their children, they also hunger for a meaningful life and are willing to work diligently in pursuit of their goals. Their greatest motivation comes from their love for their children and their desire to see them thrive. And yet, many children in our community are not thriving.
The 2014 Kids Count Data Book compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, quantifies what those of us who work with families see each day. Kentucky is ranked 35th in the well-being of our children. We consistently fall behind the national averages in areas that are predictors of the future for our commonwealth. In Kentucky, 27% of children live in poverty; 35% have parents who lack secure employment; and, 37% are being raised by a single parent. It can be tough to be a child in Kentucky. Family Scholar House recognizes that the economic well-being of our community and nation are dependent upon the ability of our residents – this generation and the next – to have opportunities to be productive in the workforce and to become contributing members of our society.
Family Scholar House is committed to ending poverty and transforming our community by empowering families and youth to succeed in education and achieve life-long self-sufficiency. All of the families we serve have experienced homelessness or unstable housing; all are very low-income; and 95% have experienced domestic violence. In every instance, the children are depending upon a single parent to provide for them.
Last year, Family Scholar House provided services for 2,261 single-parent families with 3,352 children. We did so with a small but mighty staff and almost 1,300 volunteers. To date, our parent scholars have earned 176 college degrees and have demonstrated their success not only in education and employment, but also in modeling a strong work ethic for their children. Within 90 days of graduating from our program, 70% of graduates are financially independent, no longer needing government subsidies to provide for their children.
The children at Family Scholar House live in an in-between space – somewhere between the stark realities of a family in poverty and the endless possibilities that come from a good education, viable career and opportunity for homeownership. On a daily basis, they do without basic needs while their parents work diligently to succeed in their college coursework, develop their workplace skills and provide for their children. What our scholars of all ages most need is a supportive community to encourage them as they seek a meaningful life.
To learn more about our programs and our scholars of all ages or to become a volunteer, please call to us at (502) 813-3086 or visit our website at www.FamilyScholarHouse.org.
Together we are changing lives, families and our Louisville community through education. And, with your help this season, we are spreading holiday happiness to disadvantaged children, providing them with the basic needs of the little hunger and feeding the big hunger for a meaningful life.