Program Helps Single Parents Enrolled at NEO

Program Helps Single Parents Enrolled at NEO

Student Support Services at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College are gearing a new program towards the nontraditional student, single parents.
They’re students at NEO working towards a career but they already have a full time job parenting. Participant H iram Prairie Chief is a single dad of 3 children. He’s been up since 4:00 this morning doing homework.

“Time is always your enemy,” he says.
He’s juggling parenting, majoring in process technology and a job.
“It’s intense at times, fall break is coming up so that’s pretty exciting. I’ll get to sleep in 1 day, maybe, I hope,” he says.
He attends the Single Mothers Academic Resource Team (SMART) group for single parents on campus. Funded through the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, it’s meant to promote successful financial planning, goal setting and academic success.
“I think as a single parent it’s really easy to feel isolated and like you’re the only one trudging up this mountain,” says Bobbie Pennington with student services.
This week participants get to know each other, take a quiz to find out what career paths best fit their personality and talk about realistic goal setting. Pennington says there is a large group of parents on campus, many of them raising their kids alone.
“Literature shows with students if they’re going to be successful, they have to feel connected and that’s a big challenge for a single parent to get time to feel connected to anybody and so this is another way to feel like part of a group,” says Pennington.
While the children get to play games and color, parents like Chief have extra time to study and set an example for their kids.
“What gets you through the crazy part of it is remembering you’ve got these little eyes watching you, they see me every day and they see me doing my homework, they’re more encouraged to do their homework they see me going to college they know they can go to college,” he says.
The next “SMART” meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 5.