Single Mom Scholars

A Two-Generation Approach to Mitigating Generational Poverty

As part of our Self-Sufficiency programs at Interfaith Community Services, Single Mom Scholars is a support program that empowers low-income single moms to become successful college graduates by providing a network of support through financial assistance, practical services and a peer community. Our collaborative approach enables single moms to compete in the market place, improve the quality of life for their children, and positively impact our local community and economy.

The SMS Application Portal will be open July 1 through September 30, 2024.

Making The Case

Children of single mothers are five times more likely to be raised in poverty than children from two-parent families. Further, 89% of Arizona’s low-income single mothers with young children only have a high school education (Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona).

National efforts to mitigate poverty have been focused on a single population—either parents or children, but rarely both at the same time, and it is not working. Two-generation approaches to improving the health, well-being and self-sufficiency of families are finally gaining national attention and momentum.

Program Overview

Single Mom Scholars (SMS) at Interfaith Community Service is a pioneer in the efforts to break the cycle of poverty through its two-generation approach. Through support and wrap-around services, SMS empowers low-income single moms to earn a college degree while simultaneously working with their children to gain social capital, build leadership skills, and improve academic performance.

Studies have shown that low-income families with minor children face extra barriers that can affect the early years of a child’s development. An investment in these women is also an investment in their children, providing essential family stability, and expanding the life outlook of these vulnerable youth by inspiring successful role modeling. In the course of the SMS program, 70 children have been positively impacted, through community engagement, educational enrichment and leadership opportunities.

How We Help

Single moms face the significant challenges of juggling school, family and work. These challenges often converge and can lead to dropping out of school. We facilitate success by providing the following program benefits:

For Scholars

  • Peer Support and Community Building
  • Financial Assistance in the form of a Monthly Stipend
  • Life Skills and Financial Literacy Education
  • Life Coaching
  • Professional and Personal Development

For Children

  • Back-to-School Supplies
  • College Preparation
  • Educational Enrichment
  • Extracurricular and Athletic Participation
  • Holiday Gifts
  • Leadership and Personal Development
  • Tutoring

Program Requirements

To qualify for the SMS program, you must:

  • Reside in Pima County
  • Have at least one child living with you that is 11 years old or younger
  • Have an adjusted gross income at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines
  • Be legally single or divorced
  • Be enrolled in an accredited college or university working on an associates or bachelor’s degree
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Be enrolled in at least 9 credit hours a semester
  • Attend once a month scholar community meetings

Proven Results

To date, SMS has graduated 65 women earning degrees in diverse career fields, with an average starting salary of $50,000.  A strong and resilient economy requires a prepared workforce, stable communities and thriving families. An investment in these women and their children is the only way to create sustainable change for the betterment of our community and nation.

Do you have questions about our program?

Contact us at singlemomscholarsinfo@icstucson.org.

The Single Mom Scholars program is supported by the Davis S. and Norma R. Lewis Foundation, the Marshall Foundation, and many generous individuals.