Kennedy has been passionate about her children and education for as long as she can remember.  She’s a great mom to her two kids, Arrisa and Joseph. But like any young mom, she needs support.  When she had her first child at 18 she thought college was out of the question, but she persevered.  While attending class at Eastern Kentucky University she heard about the Eastern Scholar House, which Foothills proudly opened in September 2017.

Upon hearing great things she decided to attend an informational meeting to familiarize herself with the program.  “At first I was unsure if I could get in or meet the qualifications,” said Kennedy.  “When I learned more about the program, I thought ‘yes, this is definitely something I want to be a part of’.  I knew I had to do it!”

Intrigued by the opportunity, Kennedy realized this program could change her life.  She also desperately wanted her children to attend the program’s Child Development Center to prepare them for future educational success.

The Eastern Scholar House Program provides single-parent households in eastern Kentucky access to services, child-care and housing while they pursue a college degree.  The program is open to eligible full-time students enrolled in an approved post-secondary institution such as Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Morehead State University, and others.  This comprehensive program includes counseling, workshops, support from neighbors and staff, and special activities.  Child development services are administered through the agency’s Early Head Start/Head Start program.  There are 39 two-bedroom apartments that include a washer/dryer, dishwasher, storage space, and a designated parking lot.  Housing and childcare are income based.  Once accepted, clients must maintain a 2.0 GPA, pay a portion of their rent, meet regularly with a case manager, participate in life skills workshops, and agree to either work or participate in an approved volunteer experience.

Kennedy was thrilled when she found out she had been accepted into this revolutionary new program.  There were times she felt like she was dreaming. “We were one of the first families to move in,” she said.  “It was so exciting!”  Overnight her living situation was noticeably different from her previous experiences.

Moving into Scholar House provided Kennedy with a sense of safety and security.  “Now I’m surrounded by people with similar goals and values,” said Kennedy.  “We are a community.  All of our kids love each other and want to learn and play all the time.”

One of her fondest memories was participating in the programs’ Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony.

Kennedy is also a participant in the Education Pays Center at EKU and works on campus at the Center for Student Accessibility. With a newfound sense of empowerment, Kennedy embraced her senior year last fall.  She is studying early childhood and special education and aspires to be a teacher.

Foothills has already made a significant impact on her life, and she is taking full advantage of every opportunity to achieve her goals for herself and her children.  And she has BIG goals.  She is exploring going to graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in social work as well as pursing a PhD in special education.

Kennedy credits her success in the program to the instant support and encouragement she received from staff.  In addition, the support she’s received from her family is immeasurable.  It’s hard for her to express her gratitude for the community that she became a part of. “It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” exclaimed Kennedy.  “For my daughter and son to be able to see me working hard despite our situation shows them that they can do anything they put their minds to.”

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