For single mom Kelsey Snedeker, grit, determination, and Gateway’s Family Economic Security Program (FESP) are helping her navigate challenging times.
In 2018, Kelsey, pregnant with her now 2-year-old daughter Ariyah, graduated from Career High School along with her classmates. She gave birth one week later and enrolled at Gateway in August. She is now a full-time student majoring in Human Services.
Kelsey has been part of FESP for three semesters. FESP offers career, financial, personal, and academic support, as well as one-on-one coaching, workshops, scholarships, financial aid, and networking skills. Gateway and the GCC Foundation help underwrite FESP costs, including the financial assistance that helped Kelsey face challenges that threatened to derail her education.
The GCC Foundation awards $300 scholarships each semester to full-time FESP students and $150 scholarships each semester to part-time FESP students. Participants also can apply for the Foundation’s FESP “Helping Hands” grants, which provide emergency financial support directly to vendors for their critical needs like rent, utilities, car repairs, insurance, and childcare.
‘I was on the edge, but I wouldn’t give up.’Kelsey Snedeker
That help has been vitally important to Kelsey, who entered foster care at 18 months. At 10, she was adopted by her biological mother’s aunt and uncle. Kelsey’s adoptive mom, who handled the household expenses and helped with Ariyah’s childcare needs, passed away last October, and Kelsey was struggling, personally, academically, and financially. “I was on the edge,” she recalls, “but I couldn’t give up. I have to do this for my daughter. With the help of my FESP coach and the FESP team, I completed the semester.”
Kelsey is determined to succeed. While her restaurant job hours were cut during the pandemic, she continues to work as a home health aide. She enjoys helping older adults and wants to specialize in gerontology when she completes her Gateway education.