A program is being offered by a city-wide services department to help provide homeless and formerly homeless people with the chance to earn an associate’s degree.
- one participant in the program who is homeless, the reality is going to class during the day, working as a taxi dispatcher at night, caring for her child and worrying about the roof over their heads. “After class, I go home to my shelter, change my clothes, do some homework, drop off my son at my mom’s house and go back to work,” said the single mother, who had bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep and sat in the front row during the second week of class, occasionally nodding off and eyeing a classmate’s can of Red Bull.
In the meantime, sporadic attendance is already an issue as basic needs are still being met. In June, when one student was confronted with a day care conflict, she had to either bring her son, 4, to class or skip it. He passed the time in class by making paper airplanes while his infant sister stayed with a friend.
- Another student who is also a single mother has moved between three shelters in as many years and has said that the perception of the homeless is often a negative stereotype. “When you live in the shelter system, there’s dirt on you that won’t wash off; you’re a statistic; you don’t have any ambition or drive,” says the single mother who lives in a shelter with her two children. For students like her, the associate’s degree is just an entry point. “I want my bachelor’s and my master’s,” she said, “and after that, I want to reach out to other women who couldn’t make it and give them hope.”
Starting last month, the program, which uses available classrooms at a nearby facility, enrolled 42 students in its two-year inaugural class. Nearly all are single mothers and the average age is 27.
Nationwide, it is the first time that a city agency and a university have joined forces with the aim of granting degrees.
A similar program provides college-level courses for up to six credits to the economically disadvantaged in about 20 programs around the country. That program, however, is neither a degree-granting program nor is it specifically for homeless people.
The program, which aims to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through higher education, is not without its challenges. The most pressing is transitioning each member of the inaugural class out of the shelter system and into permanent housing.
Says one spokesperson for a non-profit organization, “when people are living in a shelter and they don’t have permanent housing, they begin to lose confidence in themselves. Knowing they can go to college and compete in this economy really provides hope.”
For the students selected to participate in the program, two degrees — one in information technology, the other in business — are being offered as a path toward self-sufficiency.
Says one college professor, “For a whole number of reasons, college has not always been accessible to people who are homeless. Even if it’s only for a relatively small group of people, it’s a group of people who wouldn’t otherwise be getting in there.”
Entrance to the program requires either a high school diploma or a G.E.D. So far only a few women from the shelters were able to qualify. While half of the inaugural class still lives in the shelter system, the aim is that all students will have secured apartments by later this summer. In addition to housing, the students will receive transportation and child care courtesy of the department. Educational expenses that are not covered by the city's program for tuition help or by other student grant programs will be covered by this same program as well.
The university itself will provide grants of more than $40,000 per student!
Says a spokesperson, “In two years, these single parents will go from living in shelters to becoming educated, employed, housed families. The program is also seeking the partnership of other organizations and universities, depending on the success of this program.
"If you are single mother whether you just have a job, or are building a career while raising children, the bottom line is... you have to work. Single Mother's grants for day care are a fantastic way to help ease the financial stings of affording quality childcare services, and every single mom should definitely check it out. Even if you are comfortable in the price you are paying to have trustworthy and professional individuals care for your child, why pay for this if you do not have to?
The government is very partial to the single mother when awarding free financial aid. That is one of the main reasons why nearly all single, American taxpaying moms are eligible to qualify for some amount or form or single mom grants that apply to day care and professional child care services. It is unfortunate that many single mothers have given up pursuing their careers because they just couldn't afford proper child care services, and sadly, become trapped in dead end jobs earning little more than minimum wage. All the while, others tirelessly work additional overtime hours for no other reason than to hand most of their hard earned cash over to their day care providers. Not very rewarding to work your butt off to pay someone else to raise your child. In fact it is quite sad when you think about it, and far too many single mothers experience this heart-wrenching predicament every day.
The United States is more than willing to help these courageous ladies by awarding them large sums of free government money in womens grants. There are two basic strategies that resourceful American single mothers are executing to make the most out of this amazing funding provided by Uncle Sam. The first, easiest, and most obvious method is acquiring single mothers grants that will fully finance the costs of having their children cared for while they work, or pursue a professional career. The astronomical savings that is achieved by not having to pay for child care out of pocket, can make all the difference in her economical stability, allow her to work less and have more quality time to spend with her family.
Some of the more enterprising and child devoted ladies have been taking these advantages a step further. One of the most increasingly popular types of womens grant money utilization is establishing new, privately owned day care centers. Womens small business grants are being awarded, in addition to, single mothers grants for those who wish to create and operate day care centers. This is an amazing way to build a well paying career while spending every possible minute of the day with your child, or children, and also relieves you completely of the financial burden of paying strangers to care for your family. This can even be achieved in your own home in many cases.
If you are a single mother struggling to make ends meet, and missing out on quality time with your children, just do a little research online find a world of opportunities in womens business grants and single mothers grants. Your kids will thank you for it."