(Pictured: Eldest son Nyle, daughter-in-law Haven, Lisa, and younger son Brayden)

Meet current SPSF NWA recipient Lisa and her two sons- Brayden (15) and Nyle (24). Lisa is currently a student at NWACC majoring in Psychology and plans to get her Master’s degree in Psychology and become a therapist. Read on to learn about Lisa’s journey as an SPSF NWA Scholar.

Favorite hobbies?
I love spending time with family and friends, decorating and being crafty. Nyle is my outdoor guy who enjoys woodworking, hunting, and hiking. You can find Brayden enjoying video games and anything indoors.

Favorite parenting moment:
I would have to say realizing that my boys truly trust me with their emotions and hard stuff in their lives is probably my favorite. My oldest son, Nyle, has always been an open book and shared almost everything with me, however, my younger son, Brayden, is a lot more guarded. As he is becoming more of a young man and less of a child he is learning to trust me with the hard parts of his life. Things like his emotions, girlfriend issues and school choices, he has started opening up and coming to me for advice. It is priceless to know your children trust you with the hard stuff. I didn’t have that growing up and I am thankful I can be that support for my boys.

Biggest challenges:
Time management. It used to be financial stress, hands down. But I have been so blessed by SPSF NWA to help me with my financial burdens. I am almost 43 and have just recently been able to get my life on a somewhat financially consistent/stable track. I still struggle to make sure ends meet but because of the financial assistance and guidance of those involved in SPSF NWA and my support system through this journey of going to school, I have learned how to reevaluate my priorities. This has made a huge difference on my stress level and challenges in my life.

How did you hear about SPSF NWA?
I work at the printing company that does printing for SPSF  NWA and have been around the organization for many years.

Why do you value education?
I value my education because it has changed me into a more confident, self-assured, driven, and disciplined person. It is something I have earned by my own hard work and I am very proud of myself. It is something that no-one can take away from me.

What made you decide to go back to school/ go to school for the first time? I would come to the Spark of Hope event year after year through work and just sit quietly and cry as heard stories and watched the amazing support of all the brave single parents. But I always felt it was something I could  not do. I thought I wasn’t smart enough or financially able to go to school. When I started going to Celebrate Recovery and started truly working on myself, the people there encouraged me to try to go to school. I knew my first stop for guidance was SPSF NWA. Carrie and Joy were so kind and helpful. They put me at ease and were extremely patient as I learned about this foreign world. I started out as a part time student and after my first 2 semesters switched to a full time student. I am very proud that through my hard work and support I have maintained a 4.0.

Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
SPSF NWA has helped me find me. I remember my first interview. I was so nervous and intimidated about having to admit I needed and had to rely on help. I was ashamed to have to ask for help. Gretchen (one of the ladies in the interview) told me something that increased my confidence. I wish I could remember her exact words, but she talked about how that if SPSF NWA chose me as a recipient it was because they saw something worth investing in, that they saw value in me as a person. The way she spoke to me was like she saw me, not a person that needed a handout, but a person that had potential to be more than what I gave myself credit for, to be someone worth investing in.

What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
I would love to say “Thank you!” Although those two words do not seem to be anywhere near enough to convey my true appreciation for all you do. It is FAR more than a monetary investment that you provide. You provide me with great role models of a community that builds confidence, hope and support in ways that have and continue to change my life for the better. Your selfless investment in someone you do not know is something I am in amazement over and that I inspire to someday soon be able to do in return.



(Lisa with sons, daughter-in-law, brother Frankie, and his girlfriend Amy Freeman)