STORIES OF HOPE AND GRATITUDE
“I am a single parent raising two young children. I found myself a widow in 2003 after my husband died while on a tour of duty in Korea. I believe my children deserve the best life possible and I intend to give my career my all and go the extra mile to excel. Thank you Kentucky Colonels.”
It was a grand idea but would it work?
A few years ago, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System undertook an effort to address a void in the system. The target was single working parents with children under the age of 12. Many, many times, these individuals/families are caught in a downward spiral that effects generations. Unskilled and somewhat lacking in education, the parent is unable to provide a quality growing atmosphere for the children. The “void” in the system is that educational assistance for such individuals is lacking. Thus, the creation of the Kentucky Colonels Better Life Scholarship Program. The possible benefits were seemingly endless. By improving their education, the parent could provide a better home; the children would learn from the experience and place a high value on their own education; families would be removed from welfare. And on and on and on.
The answer to the original question has been a resounding YES!
Scholarship recipient Melissa Roussel, whose quote appears at the beginning of this story, graduated with a degree in practical nursing. She is currently working as an LPN and continuing to work toward her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
Here is the story of Eleanor Higdon:
Suddenly divorced after 15 years of marriage, Eleanor was a welfare dependent with three children. “We were barely making it. One night I was standing over my daughters watching them sleeping in one bed because one bed was all they had. I thought about what kind of legacy I would leave my girls if I didn’t do something different. I had to break the cycle.”
With two jobs and a full load of classes, Eleanor began the journey to a better life. It has been difficult and stressful but Eleanor credits the Kentucky Colonels scholarship for giving her the confidence to keep going. “It wasn’t just about the money. A group of people that I had never met actually believed in me. I don’t have the words to explain what that meant to me.”
Eleanor is no longer on welfare. She earned her associate degree in human services, is working as a substitute teacher and continues her studies for a bachelor’s degree in social services. “Today, I can hold my head up, look at my daughters and know that I am doing all that I can to make life better for them. I want the Kentucky Colonels to know that the gratitude and the love and the respect I have for them didn’t come from a check. It came from their belief in me. That message changed my life.”
The Kentucky Colonels Better Life Scholarship is administered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. For application details contact the local Community College.