Empowering Single Parent Families To Succeed

Cathe Dykstra.

Cathe Dykstra.

Family Scholar House is a jewel in Louisville’s educational crown. The organization provides support and guidance for single parents who have endured poverty, homelessness and domestic violence – helping them secure a college degree and eventually career-track employment. Hoping to end the cycle of poverty, single parent families at Family Scholar House also have access to children’s programming to promote the value of education for generations to come. Cathe Dykstra, chief possibility officer, president and CEO at Family Scholar House, gives us an update and talks about its exciting upcoming fundraiser, Sushi in the City.

LORI KOMMOR: Family Scholar House is having a big year. What’s been going on?
CATHE DYKSTRA: We’ve been growing! In September Family Scholar House broke ground on our fourth Louisville campus, Parkland Scholar House. The campus will include the historic preservation of the 1891 Parkland School, at Catalpa and Dumesnil Streets, in addition to new construction to create 48 apartment homes for single parents and their children. The complex will include a computer lab, program and meeting space, a community kitchen and dining room, reading areas, a playground and green space.

With the support of FSH’s comprehensive services, each parent scholar will be able to earn a college degree so they are able to support their family and increase career opportunities and options upon graduation. Parkland Scholar House will be completed and ready for residents this summer.

As a partner of the 55,000 degrees program, FSH is proud of the role our community plays in supporting, empowering and encouraging disadvantaged student parents to earn a college degree and achieve self-sufficiency. Last year we saw 24 of our scholars graduate. This coming May, we expect over 40 to receive their degrees.

 KOMMOR: How can local residents help Family Scholar House?
DYKSTRA: We are always looking for volunteers, and there are a variety of ways you can lend a hand. One of the simplest ways to help is by contributing to our donor drives for such things as gently used books and school supplies. Tutors are also always needed to provide one-on-one academic support to scholars or their children, as are subject-matter experts who can lead life skills workshops. So if you have an area of expertise, this is a fun way to share it.

Our Spirit Team is always looking for members. These “cheerleaders” organize many special events including the Pack a Backpack campaign, the Easter Hunt Party or putting together Finals Week Survival Kits for our scholars. You can also help by joining us for our annual Sushi in the City fundraiser on March 5.

KOMMOR: Tell us about Sushi in the City.
DYKSTRA: This is our sixth year hosting the event, and in a new twist, signature Louisville chefs will present sushi-inspired tastings, reinventing sushi with diverse ingredients and flavor palates. Each dish will also incorporate a product from Bourbon Barrel Foods, and for the second year, the event will feature Little Black Dress Vodka, thanks to our title sponsor Brown-Forman. Chefs from Mayan Cafe, Varanese, Marketplace at Theater Square, Comfy Cow and several others are all getting involved.

KOMMOR: Sounds like fun! How do we get in?
DYKSTRA: The event will take place on Tuesday, March 5, at The Henry Clay from 6 to 8 p.m. We’re really looking forward to the evening. Make your reservation by calling 502.813.3086, and watch our website, www.familyscholarhouse.org, for more exciting updates.