Booneville library, ASPSF support single mom’s career, educational journey

Booneville, Ark. (July 15, 2022) — Two milestones are only a few months away for Booneville Public Library Branch Manager Brittany Downs.

In December, the first-generation college student and single mother will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in logistics from Arkansas Tech University. Then in January, she’ll celebrate her 10-year work anniversary with the library.

It hasn’t been easy for Brittany to balance work, school, and parenting, but she found support from the library and Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, also known as ASPSF. She describes both organizations as family.

Brittany Downs (right) works at Booneville Public Library as its branch manager and met in June with Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund’s intern Haylee Moore.

The library encouraged her career growth from a part-time employee to its leader. Meanwhile, ASPSF answered questions about postsecondary education, and it provided financial aid to help pay for the biggest barriers between her and her degree.

“ASPSF is a lifeline that I can share with other mothers, fathers, and other single parents out there who could really utilize this resource,” Brittany said. “It can be very challenging for not just single moms but mothers in general getting back into the workforce, going back to school, and not knowing if there’s a support system out there to help.”

Grateful for ASPSF, Brittany volunteered at its 10th annual Logan County Golf Tournament on July 9 at Ratcliff’s Little Creek Golf Club. More than $13,000 was raised thanks to the generous support from 70-plus golfers, sponsors, and volunteers. Last year, ASPSF awarded $22,800 in scholarships to 15 single parents in Logan County.

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund recipient Brittany Downs (front left) volunteered at ASPSF’s  10th annual Logan County Golf Tournament on July 9 at Ratcliff’s Little Creek Golf Club.

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, Brittany said, but ASPSF never made her feel embarrassed. Instead, the nonprofit empowered her to reach for her goals. Brittany has been able to pass on what she’s learned to her teenage daughters. They often study together and help one another with homework, making them all better students. In fact, Brittany said her daughters motivated her to return to school, first for her associate degree at ATU-Ozark and now her bachelor’s.

“I want my daughters to look up to me,” she said. “I want them to see it takes hard work when we’re young so we can live comfortable lives when we’re older. I want them to have that financial stability to look at and to know that they can get it.”

Although logistics may not seem the most obvious major for a librarian, Brittany said she’s interested in how organizations move items from place to place. She’s been able to apply many of the business concepts, especially human resources, in her job managing the library.

Brittany Downs (right) receives her Spring 2019 scholarship from Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund Program Manager Sandy Nelson

After her December graduation, Brittany plans to stay in Booneville. She wants Lily and Ivy to finish high school with their classmates, while Brittany is considering graduate degree programs.

“I’m just a rural county girl who wants to go places, and I wouldn’t have been able to be where I’m at right now without the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund,” she said. “I’m able to show my daughters that we can move on from our past and grow into something different — there are better things ahead.”

For more information about Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund and Brittany Downs, contact ASPSF Development Manager at acox@aspsf.org or 479-462-1440.

About Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund:  For 30 years, Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund has worked to create stronger, more educated, and more self-sufficient families. Through scholarships and services, ASPSF opens doors for low-income single parents, helping them pursue education, secure employment, and transform the future for their families. With the help of volunteers and community support, ASPSF creates multigenerational change, transforming lives for both single parents and their children. For information about scholarships, volunteer opportunities, and ways to give, visit www.aspsf.org.

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