I believe in education. So when I was given the opportunity to grant a full scholarship to the University of Phoenix through the Teach It Forward Scholarship Program, I couldn't believe it. I have thought long and hard about whom I would like to give this to, and have decided to go back to my own educational roots.
First, let me tell you a bit about myself. I grew up very poor-no running water or central heat--by parents who raised me to believe that there was no other choice but to go to college. I give them credit for setting this mindset, and because of this, I was the first person in my family to graduate from a 4 year university, let alone obtain a Master's degree.
But getting through college wasn't all that easy, as two weeks before my 18th birthday, my freshman year at Clark University in Worcester, MA, I discovered that I was pregnant. I returned home to have my baby girl and dropped out of school. Five years later, on her first day of Kindergarten, I started my pursuit of an English Education degree at Plymouth State University. While I attended school, I waited tables and tutored students in writing and grammar. The two of us lived in income subsidized housing and received child care assistance, healthcare assistance, and food stamps. There were months when I was $9 short for rent, and there were nights when we ate from the food pantry. But I also have romantic memories of curling up on the couch and reading Portrait of a Lady or Les Miserables to my daughter, trying to get my course readings done and be her parent at the same time, and using her as my main subject during my poetry class.
Looking back, I couldn't have done it without the support of my community, my church, my friends, and my family, and I always wanted to give back somehow--I hoped that someday I would be able to help another single parent go to school. I never expected that that would happen so suddenly.
Through the generosity of the University of Phoenix--an online school that has satellite campuses in New Hampshire, I am able to present a scholarship for full tuition to somebody I choose. And I am opening this to single parents. Any single parent in the state who is interested in this opportunity, should open the application link to the right on my blog and read through it very carefully. Please also go to the University of Phoenix's website and explore the available programs in New Hampshire. Fill out the application carefully and either mail it to my school address: 3 School Rd. Holderness, NH 03245 or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 8. I will make a decision by April 15th in order to meet the university's deadline of April 22nd.
Pass the word to all single parents that you know--I truly want this to go to somebody who will complete his or her degree and give back to his or her own community in the future.