Household Scholar Home’s companies come to Hardin County | Native Information

For some college students, something as sudden as a flat tire can derail their whole semester. An organization is seeking to ensure that doesn’t happen in Hardin County.

Family Scholar House is an organization that was founded in Louisville and provides wraparound services to students to keep them in school despite life and financial challenges, including housing.

Cathe Dykstra, President and CEO, said the goal of the organization is to keep students in school by investing in them, which should then create more economic development for the given area.

Now, the organization is providing its services in the county, specifically to students at the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in a partnership, and has been doing so since this last September.

ECTC President and CEO Juston Pate said Family Scholar House provides the “wraparound” support that they wish they could provide to students.

“This partnership offers a world of support to our community and our students that we can’t do alone,” he said. “That’s why to me it is such a beautiful fit.”

Dykstra said there are five campuses in Louisville, containing a total of 279 apartments, of students who usually are single parent families, young adults coming out of foster care and those without any support systems. She said the waiting list is lengthy.

However, Dykstra said a small percentage of what the organization does is related to housing.

She said they have a response center, in which they take calls, but they also make calls.

With regards to ECTC, this center makes calls on behalf of the college. She said the center gets cues from the college to determine exactly what kinds of students need to be called that need the most help. Dykstra said they make about 1,000 calls a day.

When a student is reached, those calling usually ask students if they have everything they need to be successful.

Dykstra said that support can come in many different ways. Examples include finding ways to provide a computer and internet to someone who needs to do online classes, food insecurity and transportation. Support can come in the form of directing a student to services the college provides or in services found in the community.

“The No. 1 reason that people leave or lose a job or stop out or drop out from school has nothing to do with a job or school. It has everything in the world to do with life challenges,” she said.

Lynnette Kennedy recently came to the college as the regional coordinator for Family Scholar House. Kennedy works directly with students at the college to see what they need to succeed.

Kennedy said those without a support system can easily fall out of commitments such as jobs and school. She said her job is to find out what the problem is and find a solution. This could be resources through the school, Family Scholar House or the community.

John Sargent has been attending ECTC starting this semester. He said he plans on earning his associate in arts degree and then go to Western Kentucky University to earn his social work degree.

Sargent owed child support, so instead of going to jail, he began attending the Goodwill Works program in Elizabethtown. That program then enrolled him in school.

Shortly after Easter, the engine in his car failed and was abandoned on the side of Lincoln Parkway. Sargent has three kids while his fiancé also has three kids, so he didn’t have the money to get it towed.

With the help of Kennedy, they provided money to get the car towed to the repair shop. After that, he also said Kennedy helped him refocus to see what he should be doing next.

“I was feeling down about the car and she helped me re-center my energy and make sure that I stay positive instead of falling into the negative thought processes,” he said.

Pate said last Christmas break, the response center reached out to ECTC students who were potentially withdrawing. These are students who had enrolled in the fall semester but had not yet enrolled for the spring.

He said the center was able to get around 85 additional students to not withdraw from the college.

Dykstra said funding for Family Scholar House comes through support from the state and the Department of Labor, along with grants and donations from philanthropists. She said a challenge for the organization is letting those who need it know these services exist.

“One of the bigger challenges of people who have a lot of life’s challenges or struggles is that they’re so busy trying to survive, that they can’t look around to see what’s available to help them thrive,” she said.

Housing is a project in development for the Hardin County area, Kennedy said. They’re currently collecting data to see what the demand for this might be. She said a housing project would take three years to finish.

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