LEXINGTON, Ky. — Single parents celebrated getting their college degrees.
One Parent Scholar House in Lexington had a record-breaking number of graduates this year.
At 23 years old, Safiyah Wright got her bachelor’s degree, but not in the way she imagined.
“I started school in Bowling Green at Western Kentucky. That’s the school like I always wanted to go to. But then when I found out I was pregnant, I decided to come back home for more support and stuff for my family,” Wright said.
Nearly four years later, Wright and her daughter now live in Lexington at the One Parent Scholar House. A nonprofit that provides affordable housing and child care for single-parent families who are looking to further their education.
“Honestly, it means a lot, Just at first like knowing when I got pregnant I didn’t know if I wanted to continue on with school, but just having her really motivated me to keep pushing forward because I had somebody looking up to me,” Wright said.
Using the motivation from her 4-year-old daughter, Wright lives in a community with 79 other single mothers and one single father. A dad of four and a graduate this year.
“Before I found out about this program, I was actually living in my mom’s basement in London, Kentucky. With my two children. My mom was working in her last year about to retire so it was truly just me raising the kids in the basement,” Gerald Savage, a father in the program, said.
Savage says the program changed his life forever, helping him get through school full time and graduating with a Bachelor’s in Sociology.
“A lot of them are similar to me, people just struggling to try to take care of their kids and they have these big dreams and these goals but then they, you know, just really don’t know how to manage it,” Savage said.
And even with the challenges, Savage says the most important lesson he has learned through the program is to be a father first.
“And that’s where I’ve really found my ground, like, I don’t know, I’m just dad now. I’m struggling to find my own identity again, but I’ve been dad for a long time,” Savage said.
Wright and Savage were two of 36 graduates on Tuesday, and both planning to pursue a master's degree in the fall.
With hopes to create a better future for themselves and their children.