Family Scholar House

Family Scholar House

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- COVID-19 is not the only hurdle some local families are facing this holiday season. In some cases, the pandemic is exacerbated by a cycle of poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.

To help out, Family Scholar House — which provides a home, child care and other assistance for hundreds of families — is hoping the public will help purchase the items on the Christmas lists of the families they serve.

Someone who could benefit is Valissa White, a single mother from Pulaski, Tennessee who moved to Louisville in 2020. She's a full-time college student with an 8-year-old son who has some special needs.

"It was very scary," White said of the move. "(My son) has intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also has a medical condition. He's had four open heart surgeries. He also has a pacemaker and definitely has to have a lot of resources and a lot of help. It is very challenging for me as a single parent."

Shortly after the move, White found help and a home at Family Scholar House.

"Actually, my story fit their mission," she said.

Like most 8-year-olds, her son is already making his Christmas list.

"He has told me some things that he wants," White said.

But like all of the other parents at Family Scholar House, White is on a fixed income.

"I am grateful and thankful for Family Scholar House as well as the community who contributes to this program," she said.

Family Scholar House serves 30,000 households across 23 states. Madison Wolf, community engagement specialist with Family Scholar House, said they're asking the public to adopt the families they serve for Christmas.

"When you adopt a family, you are ensuring that Santa finds all the kids at Family Scholar House," Wolf said.

Wolf said despite some of their struggles, the Christmas lists are humbling.

"Our donors are often very surprised to find that most of our parents request things like cleaning supplies and toilet paper," she said. "Because what they really want is to make sure that their kids have what they need."

And Wolf knows that firsthand. Several years ago, she was a resident and on the receiving end of the Adopt a Family program.

"I was in an unhealthy relationship and I just really wanted to provide a safe space for me and my son and Family Scholar House made that possible," she said. "We can't do it without the help of our community. So everything that we do here is because of our community that comes in and volunteers and donates."

Wolf hopes her story will motivate both donors and residents.

"My favorite thing about my job is that I get to set an example for other single mothers," she said. "I get to show them that they are capable of doing anything, that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to and that there are people that care about them and want them to succeed."

Wolf said Family Scholar House is crucial for so many single parents.

"Ninety-five percent of our participants have been a victim of domestic violence," she said. "So coming to Family Scholar House, having a safe space to provide Christmas morning for their children, is huge."

To find out how to adopt a family or learn more about Family Scholar House, click here.

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