Spark of Hope Featuring Barrett Baber
Thank you to all who attended and supported the 15th annual Spark of Hope Awards Ceremony, which was held on Thursday, June 22nd at The Fayetteville Town Center to honor our 2017 scholarship recipients and contributors. Approximately 440 scholarship recipients, alumni and supporters gathered for the program, emceed by Marissa Kargas from KNWA and Jake McBride from KIX 104. Barrett Baber, finalist on NBC’s The Voice, shared how he overcame what others perceive as failures, but which he views as “failing forward” and “falling up” because they led to ultimate success. Baber, whose appearance at the event was sponsored by Listerine, also performed two original songs.
SPSF NWA current scholarship recipient, Bernadette Holt; 16 year old child of a recent SPSF NWA graduate, Diego Rodriguez; and graduate of the SPSF NWA program, Dr. Sarah Pursley, shared powerful stories of how they have been impacted by the scholarship. In her speech, Bernadette Holt described to the audience how the fund is helping her family find prosperity.
“I didn’t go to college after my high school graduation because a high school diploma in my family meant that you were done with school. Admittedly, a high school diploma wasn’t something everyone in my family had. I don’t know why college wasn’t important to my family. It is possible that their life experiences lead them to believe that college wasn’t for people like us. Today, I am a 4-time scholarship recipient. I will use my degree to break my family’s longtime poverty cycle. And my children will go to college because they will have firsthand knowledge that even though school is hard, life without higher education is WORSE.
A surprise presentation was made to honor Executive Director, Jody Dilday, for her ten years of service to the organization. She was presented with a specially commissioned work of art by Amber Perrodin, a print-making artist and SPSF NWA Alumnus. Special speakers recognized Dilday for her leadership, which has benefited hundreds of single parent families. She was also congratulated for the success of the Pathway to Prosperity Campaign, which significantly strengthened the organization by providing sustainability for its future.
The prestigious Spark of Hope awards were presented to Brent and Diane McCready for Individual Support, NorthWest Arkansas Community College as Community Partner, and Garrison Financial for Corporate Support.
Most Supportive Professor and Most Supportive Employer awards were presented to Carly Franklin of U of A School of Social Work and Simply Home Lending – a division of Generations Bank, respectively. These were recipient-nominated and selected for their commitment to helping drive the success of hard-working single parents.
New this year, the inaugural “Distinguished Alumni” award was presented to LaDeana Fleshman. The Distinguished Alumni award recognizes an alumnus who exemplifies the success of the Single Parent Scholarship program – someone who has completed their degree, established a successful career, has set an example for their children to follow, and now actively works to give back to the community that supported them while they were in college.
Through Spark of Hope sponsorships, individual, and foundation support, more than $183,400 was raised to support scholarships in 2017. This year’s event was sponsored in part by Pinnacle Foods Group, Cox, Johnson & Johnson, The Event Group and CitiScapes.
Posted by Christina Meeks on Friday, June 30th, 2017 @ 7:04PM
Categories: Latest News, Spark of Hope, Special Events, Volunteer
Tags: #BetterBrighterNWA, #ScholarshipsSupportSuccess, NWACC, Spark of Hope, University of Arkansas