Ripples Become Waves – Meet a Recipient Featuring Britney Schrag
Meet 3-time scholarship recipient Britney Schrag, and her little girl, Bella. Britney is currently working on her Organizational Management degree at John Brown University.
We asked Britney to tell us more about herself and her journey to receive her education.
How did you hear about SPSFNWA?
A friend and SPSF NWA alumnus, Amber Perrodin, encouraged me to apply. She let me know that scholarship recipients are part of a special community/family for the rest of their lives.
How did you choose your major?
I have volunteered and worked at many non-profit organizations since being a “Young Einstein” at Mid-America Museum in elementary school. With 27 years of experience, I’ve gained a lot of insight into the complexities of the non-profit world. My goal is to change the business model used by many non-profits and implement procedures that will help them become more sustainable. This dream became solidified when I lost my dream job as a program director for a regional cycling organization due to a lack of funding. I am now an assistant kindergarten teacher at a local public charter school and see many of the same struggles and needs!
Why do you value education?
I am a lifelong learner. My childhood was rough, surrounded by drug addicts, poverty, abuse, and violence; school was my safe haven. I participated in every extra-curricular program I could find and had great experiences in the Gifted and Talented program. I changed majors from genetics engineering to early childhood education, to professional bicycle mechanic and cycling instructor, and now Organizational Leadership. Each step has given me experiences and knowledge that has enhanced what I have to offer and the awareness of what I am capable of doing. Education gives us the ability to be our best selves!
Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
I’ve received help with my resume, opportunities to share with my daughter I couldn’t otherwise afford, and words of encouragement and support. Amber was right when she said you become part of a family. I was so nervous about attending the Thanksgiving dinner, but it was a blaring example of this diverse wonderful family coming together.
What is something that has surprised you about parenthood?
Even though I did not have good parental role models, and I sometimes make the same mistakes they made, I can be and am a good mom. My instinct is to doubt that I am doing a good job, but I have learned that if Bella loves me and is happy and healthy nothing else matters.
What is something you would like to do but haven’t had time lately?
I miss my bicycle; the freedom, joy, effort, scenery, and exercise is much needed.
Cycling, arts and crafts, coding, and finding great activities to try with Bella and my students
What is your idea of a great weekend?
Adventures with Bella: finding waterfalls, road trips, Silver Dollar City, hanging out in our hammocks anywhere! We are heading out on a road trip to Washington D.C. and will get to experience Independence Day in our nation’s capital! We are so excited about the Smithsonian, and there is a folk festival that is circus-themed on the national lawn while we are there! There is no one else on the planet that I would rather have these experiences with.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face?
I have social anxiety, ADHD, insomnia, and depression (sometimes). There are many days when it feels like I am fighting a losing battle with myself simply trying to get dressed and to work on time. I have only a few friends and my mother and family turned their backs on me during the divorce. After years of abuse I am healing, learning how to set boundaries, and finding myself. It is challenging to feel like a good role model for my daughter, but I have learned that showing her how to recognize her own challenges, and then work to grow and change is more impactful than a life when every day is perfect and always happy.
Where do you like to hang out with your family in NWA?
There is soooo much in NWA. The trails, museums, festivals, and shows are great. Right now we are trying to find all of the waterfalls in Tim Ernst’s Arkansas Waterfalls book! Camping and bushwhacking has been awesome and crazy adventurous!
Name something you do not leave home without.
My cell phone and art supplies; I’m a bit of a tech nut and Google-aholic, so my phone is necessary. I always have something to draw or paint with. Also my EpiPen because I have a weird allergy to Bell Peppers, as well as stinging insects.
What would you do with 1 free hour of time?
Snuggle with Bella! Her “Love Language” is quality time and touch and it feels like there is never enough time to just sit and hold her.
What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
Completing my bachelor’s degree is giving us the ability to fight our way out of poverty, a place we found ourselves after a life-shattering divorce. Except for my daughter, I lost everything: my hopes and dreams, identity, family and friends, and my home. I am embarking on a new life after 15 years of marriage. Supporting SPSF NWA is so much more than funding a scholarship opportunity; you are giving single parents the ability to stand tall, become their best selves, and share the love of education with their children. You are creating ripples that will become waves to a better future for all of us in NWA.
Posted by Christina Meeks on Monday, July 3rd, 2017 @ 5:00AM
Categories: Inspiring, Latest News, Meet a Recipient
Tags: #BetterBrighterNWA, #ScholarshipsSupportSuccess, JBU, Meet a Recipient, Northwest Arkansas, Scholarships for single moms, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, SPSF NWA