Nspire Growth
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Our Focus

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Education and poverty are complexly tangled. Low-income children are predisposed to various obstacles at school and at home, limiting their chances for educational success. At the same time, missed educational opportunities trap children and young adults in the cycle of poverty. To best serve low-income students, we must address their unique needs.

Students from low-income households face the consequences of poverty in every area of their development. Some obstacles children from low-income homes may face include:

  • Instability and Distress. A child’s home life significantly impacts his or her academic performance. Instability, abuse, hunger, mental health, language difficulties, addiction, domestic violence, and neglect at home all have negative effects on a child’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development. If a child is concerned about his next meal, how is he going to focus on a math test? If she’s concerned for her safety, how is she going to focus on her homework?
  • Poor nutrition and health. Poor nutrition, less access to healthcare, and little exercise affect a child’s reasoning, memory, attention, emotional regulation, and impulse control. If their physical needs aren’t being met, students quickly fall behind in the classroom.
  • Brain development and cognition. Low-income children often perform below peers from higher socio-economic statuses on standardized tests and academic performance. A disruptive home environment, poor health, and instability can lead to distraction, attention deficits, weak vocabulary, and poor processing skills. These basic cognitive skills are critical, particularly in early childhood development.

In addition to the physical and cognitive consequences of poverty, students often lose motivation and hope for a better future. Without the support, opportunity, and encouragement to dream of something different, students don’t know how to work toward something different.

These and other various setbacks result in high dropout rates for low-income students. Students from low-income families are five times more likely to drop out of school than students from higher-income families. Without a high school diploma, students have a limited earning potential compared to those with a high school or college diploma. One report found median annual income for 25 to 34-year-old adults with a college education was more than twice that of those without high school education. The same report found a 25 percent unemployment rate among 20 to 24-year-old adults without a high school degree. Individuals without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated, become single parents, and use public assistance programs – further perpetuating the cycle of dependency.

One way that Park will eliminate barriers is by addressing gaps of care in the education system. Also by thinking outside the box; ACT access, overcoming food insecurity, transportation, books, and mentorship.

Park Community Scholarship

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Park Scholarships will select 1 outstanding High School senior to receive the Park Community Scholarship based on:

  • Academic Achievements
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • GPA
  • Applicant Essay

The winner receives a $2,000 award that will be distributed evenly over the course of four consecutive years as long as the student continues to meet the requirements described in the application. Applications are due May 31 each year and the winner is selected in June.

William Christian Lewis Shadburne Memorial Scholarship

Christian Shadburne Scholorship

William Christian Lewis Shadburne Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Park Community Credit Union

Christian Shadburne, son of Park Executive Vice President, David Shadburne, was an athlete, a leader, and a servant. A 2012 graduate of Hart County High School, Christian was an avid sports fan participating in basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, and cross-country. He earned all-district honors in basketball and soccer and was a captain on his basketball, soccer and tennis teams. Christian was selected as a Kentucky Governor Scholar, voted Mr. Hart County High School, and maintained a 4.0 GPA. Christian played an active role in his church and had a passion for serving at nursing homes and camps for children with disabilities. After graduating from high school, Christian enrolled at Western Kentucky University majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. His career aspiration was to be a pediatrician. While completing his junior year at Western Kentucky University he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Despite radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Christian passed from this life on May 26, 2016, at the age of 22.

Though Christian’s life was short, he left a legacy that will be remembered. His priority in life was to be faithful to his God. He cared about his community and tried to help others whenever he could. It was Christian’s character to go out of his way to help his friends and loved ones. Even when he was fighting cancer, he continued to think of others before he thought of himself. To be a friend of Christian’s meant never having to face a challenge alone.

Park Community Credit Union is awarding five (5) $1,000 non-renewable scholarships in memory of Christian to honor his achievements and hard work and remember his unselfish desire to help his community. It is our goal to reward well-rounded students who seek to improve their community as Christian did. Applications for this scholarship must be postmarked by May 31, 2020.

The Mark & Kellie Carter Scholarship Fund

Mark and Kellie Carter Scholorship

The Mark and Kellie Carter Scholarship Fund Administered by Nspire – A Park Community Initiative

The Passport Foundation created the Mark and Kellie Carter Scholarship Fund in 2018 to inspire people who are the first in their family to obtain post-secondary education and training. Former Passport Health Plan CEO, Mark Carter, and his wife, Kellie, are honored to lend their names to the scholarship fund and have provided generous funding to establish this important education initiative aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.

This is a one-year scholarship program, renewable for a second year through a second application round.

The program will provide tuition assistance, books, school-related supplies and, based upon need, assistance with food and transportation access and child care up to ($2,500) for individuals pursuing training in a certified technical trade or two-year degree.

Also included in the scholarship package:

  1. Access to an educational and professional mentor
  2. Laptop computer
  3. Stipend to cover textbook and supply expenses
  4. Additional support to cover gaps such as childcare to allow the scholarship awardee to attend classes, a healthy food delivery to ensure nutritious meals during milestone academic periods (semi-finals, finals, for example) and transportation assistance in the form of TARC passes or other transportation support if not located in Jefferson County.

The goal of this program is to help aspiring Kentuckians avoid unemployment or underemployment, escape the poverty cycle and positively influence their families and local communities.

Students graduating from high school in spring, 2020 and non-traditional students are encouraged to apply.

Non-traditional students must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have delayed their enrollment in post-secondary education for more than one year and for reasons other than a planned gap year
  • Have dependents other than a spouse
  • Be financially independent from their parents
  • Completed a GED at the College Ready Level or high school equivalent

Four scholarships a year up to $5,000.00 per scholarship.

The Application for this scholarship will be posted May 2020.