Madison Magazine April-May 2019 - Page 11

The residents of the new Eastern Scholar House and their children crowd around EKU President Michael Benson after the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2017. my daughter the future I imag- ined,” Martin said. “Instead, I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m planning a wedding. I’m on the dean’s list. And I’m graduating before I turn 30.” While at the Scholar House, Martin was able to walk Haleigh to daycare and walk to class all in one spot. There were days that she didn’t even have to move her vehicle because everything she needed was right there. “If they had a Kroger where the soccer fields are I would have sold my car,” Martin said. Parks echoed a similar senti- ment, stating she didn’t have to worry about finding a ride to the library or for a meeting with a professor because she’s already located on campus, which has made her college experience that much better. “It also has made my job as a parent easier because I don’t have to worry about childcare or finding a place for my kids to go to and be picked up, when the Child Development Center is right outside my door,” Parks said. “As a parent, it is very hard to find good childcare.” Both Martin and Parks plan on graduating soon. Parks will re- ceive her General Studies Degree and Minor in Child and Family Studies with her Director’s cer- tificate. When she walks across the stage on May 10, 2019, she will be the first woman to gradu- ate college in her family. To her, the Eastern Scholar House will always be home. Martin is pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf and Hard of Hear- ing Education and is expected to graduate in 2022. If she had to, Martin said, she would do it all over again in a heart beat. “The program is everything it’s supposed to be minus a few glitches, but it’s a new program and gets to write the first year off as a trial period. Even though I no longer live there as I plan to get married later this year, I know this program will be around for several years to come,” Martin said. “This is a community of single parents coming together to better themselves and their children, and you can bet to see these children back at EKU later down the road to succeed just like their parent.” The parents and children that make up the Eastern Scholar House is so diverse, it’s like a melting pot. Martin said the many families bring different parenting styles. Parks said those who make up the residences are more than just neighbors, they’ve become family. “I already had such a great sup- port system, but once I moved here, I had an even bigger sup- port system,” Parks said. “I think support systems are so important especially when you’re a single parent going to college. I recom- mend the Eastern Scholar House to any single mother who wants to go to college.” The program is open to eligible full-time students enrolled in an approved post-secondary institu- tion such as Eastern Kentucky University, University of Ken- tucky, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Morehead State University and others. The Scholar House is one of many programs offered by the Ken- tucky River Foothills Inc. Other programs they offer include alcohol and drug recovery, senior services and housing. There are three components of the Scholar House, first being the education program. Single parents are connected to educa- tional support such as academic tutoring, financial literacy and employment assistance. The par- ents living in the Scholar House will receive case management, workshops and access to vari- ous programs including parent- ing skills, management of family resources, nutrition, work skills, problem solving and job search techniques, most which are free. Parents must maintain a 2.0 GPA while attending classes as well. The second component is child- care. As a single parent, finding affordable childcare while trying to classes and work can be near impossible, which is why a child development center was built right next to the Eastern Scholar House. All preschool aged children are enrolled in the center, where they will receive child development services administered through the KRFH’s Early Head Start/ Head Start program. The child development facility includes five classrooms for children, offices for program staff, meeting space, a playground and a computer lab. The third component is hous- ing. The 39-unit residence com- plex sits on EKU’s property near the Science Building and close to all of the essential hubs of campus. Each apartment has two bedrooms, a washer and dryer, dishwasher, storage space and a designated parking lot. Residents pay a share of the rent as well. To find out more about the Eastern Scholar house, visit https://foothillscap. org/eastern-scholar-house- program/ or https://soto.eku. edu/eastern-scholar-house- program. A P R I L- M AY 2 0 1 9 Madison Magazine 11