All The Single Parents

When Evelyn Alfaro was 19-years-old she never expected to face the responsibilities and stresses of motherhood so early in life.

Among the many students dealing with the daily trials and hassles of college life, single parents face an especially difficult challenge. They must juggle their daily schedule between classes, homework, jobs, and taking care of their children. This requires a lot of effort and savvy scheduling.

Alfaro is now a 21-year-old student at Santa Monica College and is the single parent of a 15-month-old boy and a newborn girl.

She knows all too well how difficult it can be to raise children by yourself while still attending classes. Alfaro has had to adjust every detail of her schedule to being a mom, including classes.

I can no longer take early classes on campus because I take care of my son during the day. Sometimes it's difficult to find the classes you need in the afternoon, so most of my classes are done online," she said.

For Alfaro support from her family is essential. Her parents have made it significantly easier for her to manage her time while juggling a student lifestyle.

"It's hard to focus on the workload when you have a toddler running around," she said. "With the support of family, pursuing a college degree and being a single parent is less of a hassle."

Full-time SMC student Deborah Atwater is also a single mother and
supports herself and her 18-month-old daughter.

For Atwater, a regular day begins by having breakfast and after dropping her pride and joy off at daycare, she makes her way to SMC where she has class until 6 p.m.

Atwater explained that she is taking the maximum amount of units allowed per semester in order to transfer as soon as possible.

"School is a full-time job and grants cover my tuition." she said.

Atwater advises other single parents to use every available resource. She does not believe that there is a future in living off financial aid and is confident that in continuing her studies she will soon be able to provide for her daughter on her own.

A majority of single parents depend on a wide variety of support and aid when continuing their studies.

One example of this is the CalWORKs Child Care Services, offered by SMC. Their services are designed for legal guardians and parents that attend classes full-time that are in need of support.

The child care services alleviate some of the more stressful responsibilities and encourage parents to pursue their academic goals while remaining responsible guardians.

Atwater uses the CalWORKs Child Care Services, and she encouraged others to do so as well.

However, she might have to relocate when transferring and this could possibly result in the loss of her childcare grants.

While this could mean that she would have to account for nearly $20,000 a year out of her pocket, she is confident she can overcome this new upcoming challenge.

Both mothers face their own, unique hurdles but feel positive about the future. Alfaro is determined to major in psychology and Atwater plans to transfer to the University of Southern California in the fall with a double major in business and accounting.

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