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Single Parent Homemaker Services Program Gains Visibility

Spring 2008 | Archives

SPHS Student and Coordinator For more than 20 years, MCC has offered services directly for single parents, single pregnant women and displaced homemakers. Single Parent Homemakers Services (SPHS) is a program offered to low-income and first generation MCC students to assist in learning, self-sufficiency and personal and career development. Single parents with full or joint custody of minor children, single pregnant women and homemakers with diminished marketable skills who need to return to the workforce due to divorce or the death or disability of a spouse are eligible for this program.

Phyllis Brown joined the College as the coordinator of Single Parent Homemaker Services in late fall 2007. Though the program has a history at the College, a major emphasis of her work is aimed at promoting and enhancing the accessibility of these services.

Brown began her new position by visiting MCC´s campuses and sites and asking students what they would like to see in the SPHS program. Overwhelmingly, both staff and students wanted the services to be accessible to all campuses and sites, which may not have a daily presence from the program. But once accessed, what does SPHS do?

"We provide one-to-one counseling and advising. They see the same advisor each time, versus seeing who is available," Brown said.

SPHS counselors and advisors help students by evaluating their educational, financial and personal/family needs then examining the options available in education, careers and financial aid. They then help the student plan for their future, including nontraditional career information, career exploration, employability skills and community resource referrals if needed.

SPHS offers four types of services. The first, Positive Opportunities for Parenting Solo, is a group that fosters personal and educational growth through mentoring, networking, community service and lifelong relationships. Secondly, SPHS staff provide agency referrals to students by locating other services not provided by SPHS. Thirdly, the program offers workshops and seminars throughout the year that cover topics such as resume writing, interviewing, math anxiety, parenting and budgeting. Finally, SPHS operates a book lending program that loans textbooks to student participants who demonstrate financial need.

"We encourage them to go as far as they can, and we try to be there to help them take one step further," Brown said. "Students graduate with skills to take back to the community. The goal is to retain, graduate and transfer our students to four-year institutions and to provide them with the tools necessary to become self-sufficient parents and citizens."

Students can visit the SPHS web site www.mccneb.edu/trio/sph, make an appointment in advance or walk in to meet with a representative. SPHS representatives are on the Fort Omaha and South Omaha campuses full-time and at the other MCC locations each Friday.

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