Rachel Childers gushes gratitude for the support she received from Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund. While attending Benton Beauty Academy, the aid covered nearly all her tuition for the yearlong program. This allowed her to spend more time with her 10-year-old son, Gabe, because she didn’t have to work full-time while attending trade school.
“As a single parent, having resources is so important,” she said. “The scholarship allowed me to focus on school — devote all my attention to being here, being present. I didn’t have to choose between my education, being a parent, and a full-time job.”
After losing Gabe’s father to his battle with mental illness, the mother-son duo became involved in suicide prevention outreach, such as Out of the Darkness Walks. They’re also active members of Gracepoint Church in Benton.
Rachel said it’s important she teaches her son how to be a good person. “He wants to build robots and go to MIT, and if he does, that’s great! But if he doesn’t, I just want him to be a good person,” she said. “I want him to see that there are different ways to be successful.”
By attending beauty school, Rachel is showing her son that postsecondary education goes beyond a classroom at a four-year college institution. Since graduating in December 2021, Rachel found a job at RM Skin Bar, and she’s fortunate that her career is sustainable in Benton. She plans to earn her instruction license so she can teach the next generation of stylists.
“One of the major things that I want my kid to see is that you can do whatever you want — it doesn’t have to be traditional,” she said, adding that some people didn’t support her decision to become a hairdresser.
After her first client, Rachel knew she had made the right choice to study cosmetology. The client felt comfortable enough to share how she survived domestic abuse, and Rachel discovered she loved helping people find their inner beauty and shine with confidence. “I never knew being a hairdresser could allow you to give back to people in your community,” Rachel said. “Service has always been a part of me, and I want to instill it in my son.”
For more information about Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund — which has awarded more than $30 million in scholarships across the state to single parents since 1990 — contact ASPSF Communications Director Jen Para at [email protected] or 479-318-2885.
Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund works to create stronger, more educated, and more self-sufficient families. Through scholarships and services, ASPSF opens doors for low-income single parents, helping them pursue education, secure employment, and transform the future for their families. With the help of volunteers and community support, ASPSF creates multigenerational change, transforming lives for both single parents and their children. For information about scholarships, volunteer opportunities, and ways to give, visit www.aspsf.org.
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