Andrea Harper is a single mother of two from Carl Junction. She is currently attending Pittsburg State University and majoring in Social Work with an intended graduation date of May 2012. A scholarship recipient for five semesters, Andrea has earned three semesters of merit bonuses by making a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
She chose to attend college and get an education “because I knew continuing my education was the only way I would be able to adequately take care of my children and provide them with things they may want or need.” She adds, “My main challenges when it comes to being a full time mother and student are mostly financial. I overcome this by sacrificing things that aren’t a necessity and by working part time.” Andrea has used her scholarship money mainly to pay for books. She says, “What is left over, I save for gas or utilities. This makes a difference for my family because I am able to save the money I would have spent on books and buy the things my children need.”
Her vision of the future is a bright one. She says, “Since the [Joplin] tornado, I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for Catholic Charities doing disaster case management. After volunteering for a month, Catholic Charities hired me on as a permanent employee. They have agreed to work around my schedule during my last semester of classes and I will be able to do my practicum semester with them also. I am so blessed, and the Aspire scholarship plays a big part in my success. Soon I will be able to buy a house and continue my professional career with Catholic Charities!”
Andrea says the biggest lesson she has learned from this experience is “how to have confidence in myself again. Not only has this helped me have more confidence but it also has helped me grow as a person and achieve my goals.” She adds, “Thanks to every person working with Aspire for helping me and other single parents reach our goals!”
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