The Single Parents Program Helps Families

Champlain's Single Parents Program Marks 25 Years of Helping Families

Single Parent Program

Carol Moran-Brown (right) has led the Single Parents Program for 16 years at Champlain College. She is shown with students and counselors.

Champlain's Single Parents Program is one of the College's oldest scholarship programs, and "it is only one of 11 such programs across the country," said Carol Moran-Brown, "offering single parents a support system covering students academically, financially, and personally."

“The Champlain College Single Parents Program has changed many lives, and with continued support from the community, alumni, and Champlain College’s leadership, it will do so for many years to come.”

- Carol Moran-Brown

The program is designed to help single parents attend school full-time, and get a career-focused education. Its services range from meeting daily needs to dealing with unforeseen emergencies. "I hope the program never changes, for the sake of others," said Guadalupe Linarte Cano '14, a current student who emigrated from Nicaragua to Burlington, Vermont, in 2002.

"Coming to America, I was not familiar with the student resources," she said. She began exploring American education with classes at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) squeezed in the little time she had between caring for her four children. In 2009, she learned about Champlain's program when a counselor visited Linarte Cano at CCV and explained how it would allow her to attend school full-time.

"I couldn't ask for anything more. As a student, as a mother, the program gives me the strength to get a degree I couldn't find anywhere else. It has opened a lot of doors to make it possible to come to school and stay here."

Now a second-year Criminal Justice student, Linarte Cano shared an example of how she has been helped.

In October of 2010, Linarte Cano, who was six months pregnant, was in a car accident. In the face of worries about her health and the health of her unborn child, it barely registered that she had also lost her transportation in the accident. That's when case manager Bernadette Wagner formerly of Champlain's Single Parents Program stepped in to help.

Wagner arranged for the program to pay for a taxi service to bring her and her kids to school until the close of the semester. And because the birth of her fourth child, a healthy daughter, would coincide with the end of the spring semester, Wagner also helped work out a plan with Linarte Cano's professors so she could take her final exams early.

There are countless stories of the program making a real difference.

In 2006, Heather Williams '13 moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to St. Albans, Vermont, to live with her mother. She was eight months pregnant, unemployed, and divorced. She was frantically searching for a job, but without a degree or a specific skill base, she realized that going back to school was essential.

Williams met Wagner through a contact at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). Once again, the scholarship program was about to make it possible for a single mother to attend school as a Champlain College Online student and work toward earning a degree in something she loved - human studies and social work. Williams added, "It's where I belong, and the caseworkers and other single moms are such a supportive network and make my life so much easier."

Support for the program is far-reaching, which was demonstrated when the annual fall Women Supporting Women in Education fundraiser brought in $218,880 from 140 donors who matched a $100,000 challenge gift by Rich Tarrant and Tracey Appleton.

In early December, the annual on-campus holiday party for families is held, complete with Santa delivering presents for the children sponsored by a department or individual at Champlain College. Luncheons are held monthly to offer support and comradeship.

The Champlain College Single Parents Program has changed so many lives, Moran-Brown reflected, and with continued support from the community, alumni, and Champlain College's leadership, it will do so for many years to come.

To learn more about the program and how you can help support it, please call (802) 383-6620.

— Kayla Hedman '14