By Megan Strobel, St. Louis University Students for Life
As the Chair of Saint Louis University’s Students for Life subcommittee “Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance” (PPSA), I have the privilege of heading our group’s supportive services efforts. One of the aspects of my job is to be on the dispersal committee for an endowment SLU has provided that allots scholarships to pregnant and parenting students in need of financial assistance—an honor to say the least. I’ve had this job for two years now, and we have always had a modest number of applicants, with our most recent dispersal being 9 applicants. Remember that number 9 for later…
PPSA’s faculty mentor, Donna Bess Myers (who also happens to be the Dean of Students – talk about perfect person for the job!) loved that we were able to reach the students we did. But we were curious if by advertising this scholarship more, we could reach even more students who could use this financial assistance to be the amazing parents AND students they are. We reached out to some people in Student Financial Services and they were able to advertise our scholarship on what’s called the Scholarship Suite, an online portal where every SLU student has access to all the scholarships they are eligible for.
Flash forward to this semester… We got word that the application had closed and that we were ready to begin the decision process for the scholarship. I got a notification that I had EIGHTEEN applications to review. “Wow!” I thought. “Eighteen applicants! That’s double from last semester!” Donna and I were scheduled to meet that afternoon for our biweekly PPSA meeting, and I remember sitting in her office just ecstatic that we had reached another 9 parents who had a shot of getting some scholarship money. Donna started laughing and said, “Yeah about that.. That notification you got that says you’re reviewing 18 applicants is actually a different 18 people than the rest of the committee… There are actually 67 applicants.”
What?! 67 people…. That’s close to 100 of my peers who are going to college WHILE ALSO raising their kids who need our help. 67 stories of hard work, sacrifice, and bravery to choose life and love while also following their dreams of a college education. Donna and I were hoping that we could reach at least a few more people to apply for our humble scholarship, but this exceeded expectations.
Moral of the story: pregnant and parenting students are freaking superheroes. Like, I’m proud of myself if I make my bed in the morning. If you know a parent in school, tell them how amazing they are. I can’t imagine how good that would make them feel.
Second moral of the story: Help your superstar pregnant and parenting peers! There are people around us all the time who need support and TRUTH. Does your school have a scholarship? If yes, raise money for it! If not, find all the resources you can in your area and reach out to your student assistance offices to give them this info. Table on campus to show off the places in your area whose literal job is to help people in these situations.
***Hint: they don’t start with P and end with lanned Parenthood***.
Like me, I’m sure you had no idea that there are so many people on your campus who could use your knowledge and resources. So reach them before they even have to reach you! As I’ve said about 10 times: these people rock, and it’s amazing to be able to support them.