Hope, Arkansas – Staff at Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. in South Arkansas describe Rainy as one of the hardest working women they know.
“(Rainy) has dedicated her life to making the lives of her family better by working multiple jobs with little rest,” said Lisa Clark, YAP Family Intervention Specialist. “She is determined that if one way doesn’t work, to not stop until she has found another way.”
YAP is a national nonprofit in 33 states and the District of Columbia that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and other systems to provide trauma-informed community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration, congregate placements, residential treatment, and neighborhood violence.
“We are benefitting from (YAP) in so many ways,” said Rainy whose child was a program participant of YAP. It was a lot that I didn’t know about (my child) that I am finding out. (My child) has started opening up to me so that wall that she had up, I feel it is coming down now. We are starting to interact with one another better. The family is learning to communicate better and to listen to one another more.”
Rainy, a 35-year-old mother of four, is one of 28 YAP program participants and family members or guardians who received a scholarship from the 2022 Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education. Currently, Rainy works long hours in a factory job which keeps her away from home for long periods of time.
“On average I work anywhere from 45-70 hours a week,” Rainy said. “My work schedule prevents me from being able to spend time with my children or to interact with them after getting off work because I am so tired.”
The $1,000 scholarship will allow Rainy to return to school, earn a phlebotomy certificate and obtain better employment that will allow her to be home more with her children. YAP scholarships are applied to school tuition, fees or supplies, job training costs, or in the form of a laptop computer.
“We are so proud of Rainy and the progress she is making to ensure her family has a successful and sustainable future,” added Heidi Calhoun, YAP South Arkansas Program and Clinical Director.
Rainy thanks YAP for its help and hopes to help other families who are in similar situations.
“It will help me in so many ways,” she said. “One, I will be able to get a good paying job and not have to keep doing factory work, that takes me away from my kids for long hours. It will also help me with establishing a regular schedule with my family, where I did not have that before.”
YAP’s program in South Arkansas includes Hempstead, Miller, Nevada, Little River, Columbia, Ouachita, Union, Sevier, and LaFayette counties.