This semester a group of students enrolled at Indiana University Southeast volunteered to assist in telling the story of Family Scholar House. Students spent time getting to know our participants and learn more about the FSH experience. This is part of the story from one of our amazing participants: 

When asking someone about their favorite season, their answers usually boil down to summer or fall. However, not everyone prefers one season over another. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of Family Scholar House’s participants over zoom audio, who tends to favor the “in betweens” of seasons. Whether it be learning how to drive, or dealing with the seasonal changes of Louisville, Bri is prepared for whatever life throws her way.

Bri started her college career at Northern Kentucky University, where she led an independent life studying and living on her own. Her life of independence took a brief pause after she found out that she was pregnant. She found Family Scholar House shortly after she started looking for places to get back on her feet after the birth of her daughter. “I didn’t even know there was such a place.” With both of their futures at the forefront of her mind, Bri and her daughter began their journey with FSH. Bri feels grateful for the affordable housing, academic coaching and supportive services of Family Scholar House. Without a car, the FSH campus being close to her regular destinations, such as work, school and her daughters daycare is a game changer. “The Early Learning Center (ELC) is a really open and exploratory environment,” Bri said. the learning center allowed her daughter to have a safe place to grow and learn alongside other kids. Assistance with childcare, another one of the FSH’s resources, allows the busy mother to feel settled while at work and school because her daughter is in safe hands.

Amidst her studies, her job, and her recovery from a recent knee surgery, Bri finds stability in loving her little girl. Once she started talking about her daughter, Bri’s voice grew excited as she proudly told intricate details only a loving parent would notice.“Her personality is so big already,” she said. “I like that she’s not afraid to like tell people when something is making her feel uncomfortable because that’s just something I really want her to be able to do [when] growing up.” Not a single silent pause evaded the zoom call because we found her favorite topic. Bri also admires her daughter’s unique eating habits. “She loves to snack on anything fruits and vegetables,” she said, earning surprised expressions from all camera views. “She loves tomatoes and broccoli. Those are like her two favorite [snacks].” As long as she is equipped with her essential veggies, apple juice, and milk, Bri’s little girl is ready to take on the world. After dinner in the evening, the long process of getting Bri’s kiddo ready for bed begins. “She gets a bath usually every night or every other night because it helps her go to sleep,” the tired mother explained. “Then we go to her room [and] clean up her toys, and then we read a book together.” When asked to remember their favorite bedtime story, Bri paused, mentally sorting through countless book titles in her mind. “Pete the Cat has been her favorite book here recently,” she said, pausing again before reiterating, “so yeah I’ll say Pete the Cat.”

Their consistent nightly routine shows Bri’s devotion to both motherhood and educating her curious daughter. Being inquisitive herself, Bri always liked to try new things. Her curiosity has led her to accept a teaching position after she graduates from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Bri endured rough seasons throughout her life, yet she continued to find a way to adapt to the shifting changes. While she continues to work for a worry-free life for her family of two, Bri’s internal driving force narrows down to one person: Her daughter. “That’s my girl,” Bri says, her smile shining through her voice. “She’s taught me so much about myself.” She reveals that her daughter is “very intentional” with her words and actions. Her daughter’s character is a spirit that Bri once saw in herself while growing up. “It’s something I would like to get back to,” she said. “The full spectrum of how my daughter just navigates life herself is inspirational to me. I’m just like, ‘Oh my god. I wanna be like you when I grow up.’” Family Scholar House’s resources allowed Bri and her daughter to get back on their feet and continue enjoying life’s “in betweens” together.

By: Morgan Marquette, Kaylee Mayfield, and Lori Burke