Meet Current Recipient (and recent graduate) Carmen Gonzalez and her family!
What are your children’s names and how old are they?
I have Joseph, who is 10, Kenzley, who is 4, and Nevaeh, who is 2.
Where are you attending school and what is your major/degree?
I am currently working on my bachelor’s in psychology at John Brown University.
What is something that has surprised you about parenthood?
People made it seem as though the baby years were the ones that were the most exhausting for me. However, I am finding that with age, life is much more of an adjustment. The kids are growing into little adults. They can express their feelings and deal with their own life battles such as school and bullying. It is hard for me to juggle all of that and to want to fix everything for them but, as a parent, some things you just can’t fix.
What is your favorite parenting moment?
Hearing them say I love you. I am also pretty fond of other people, even strangers talking about my child’s manners, etc. It makes me feel like I must be doing something right.
Where do you like to hang out with your family in NWA?
We really enjoy hanging out at fun arcade places like Chuck-E-Cheese or Lokomotion.
What is something you wish people had told you before having kids?
To think about what I want to do for a career, if schooling would be involved, and to consider how I would support the children.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies include party planning when I can. I have found a passion for it since having children. I also like to watch movies and listen to music.
What is your idea of a great weekend?
Relaxing and having fun with my littles.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in my small successes. I know that sounds cliché but honestly, I remember during this part of one particular semester that I was unsure if I was going to make it. It was my first semester with three kids, while working full-time and doing virtual learning with my 10-year-old. When I got my final grade back, it really inspired me to believe in myself a bit more. I never believed an A was in store for me.
What are your biggest challenges?
Time management has been a struggle and balancing my life out. Covid has also put a damper on my fun/relaxing time as we cannot get out as much.
How did you hear about SPSFNWA?
I had a friend at school who referred me to them. I was really prideful and said that I was okay- I had this on my own. Eventually, a year or so later, I completed an application and have been so grateful ever since! It is so much more than just money. They are rooting for me and care about my success and my children.
What is one word to sum you up?
What is a favorite quote of yours?
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
Why do you value education? 
I value education because it is an important asset to have when it comes to having a career that your heart desires. It is the very reason I will get to do what I love every day for a living.
What do you enjoy most as a parent?
Seeing my child grow up and flourish into an amazing person. It brings tears just thinking about what a great person he has become. I also enjoy the fact that I can do fun things and being a mom is my excuse, such as dressing up for Halloween and getting my face painted at events. I would say I enjoy the activities as much as the kids do.
What made you decide to go back to school/ go to school for the first time?
I decided to return to school because I knew I needed to do something to lock in a good career for my family’s stability. I also wanted to spend my days doing something I would enjoy.
How did you choose your major?
I love psychology and it intrigues me. I also want to be able to help others.
How are you and your family adjusting to online classes?
It is certainly an adjustment, but I give credit to my son who has really done an excellent job of doing what he is asked by his teacher. I don’t think this would have been possible without his consistency and determination.
Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
It has been the encouragement and support I have needed through some hard times. It has also provided me and my family with connections to others and events that allow us to create memories that will last a lifetime.
How will life be different for you and your family after you graduate?
Oh boy, I am hoping to have a better career and maybe less stress. I would hopefully be more financially stable where I can give back to SPSF NWA. I really am looking forward to the chaos dying down and enjoying a new career of choice.
What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
First of all, I don’t think you know the difference you have made in our lives with your support. I don’t know where I would be without SPSF NWA. All of my family lives in another state, so sometimes I have felt pretty alone in my journey. I know that I can lean on SPSF NWA to listen, encourage me, and give me that push to keep going. It helps me feel like people out there are rooting for me- that complete strangers even care about the future of me and my children’s lives. Your support has been the reason my children have seen me graduate! I was the first in my family to do so. Thank you!