Faces of Freedom

Students shouldn’t be punished and left behind because their families don’t have financial resources.These are the voices of Arkansas families who have benefited from Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program.

Everyday students across Arkansas struggle in the wrong educational environment.

We know that far better is possible.

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“My daughter is a recipient of the succeed scholarship in Conway, AR”…“The changes I’ve seen in my daughter and classmates are too great to ignore. Miracles happen when these kiddos get what they need in an environment like [the school we have chosen]. Every child should have that right and opportunity.”

Allison, Conway

“[Our chosen private school] works on social skills. Teaching children to learn to their fullest ability. [This private school] is such a blessing to our family. Since our son has been at [this school] he is really thriving. He’s progressing. And he feels accepted. All children learn in different ways.
What works for 10 children may not work for the 1 child that’s struggling. I do not know what we would do without the Succeed Scholarship. It would just be devastating.”

Laura, Little Rock

“My husband and I are very grateful for the with Succeed Scholarship. It has allowed the opportunity for our daughter to attend a school that meets her needs. This gives us an added assurance that our daughter will be able to attend a school that not only meets her needs but it also us a sense of ease that our daughter is now in a setting where she will be able to reach her full potential.

 -Angela, Conway

The Succeed Scholarship program has become a necessity for families throughout the state. My experience is simple. My 12 year-old son in on the autism spectrum. My husband and I bounced around schools to find a place where he could not only THRIVE academically, but socially and emotionally. [After our chosen school became part of our home.] There he is blossoming into a young man of character and a natural leader. His teachers speak highly of his academic success (high honor roll), consideration of his fellow students and staff. It has also boosted his self confidence at a crucial age of self-awareness and development.” … “
“Writing on behalf of the Succeed Scholarship fund is needed! Please HEAR our stories! Let us SHOW the faces of the beneficiaries-our children. This isn’t about pitting school choices against the others. This is about something greater.

Shanta, North Little Rock

“In July of 2013, we adopted two brothers and their little sister through the foster care system.” … “Because of constant appointments for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling, pediatrician visits, dental care, vision care, medical tests for everything, and the regular childhood colds, I had to resign my position as a social worker. We were and are a one-income family. The children’s needs are overwhelming.” … “We needed a miracle. [Our chosen private school]! Geared toward children whose challenges made public school impossible. It was a perfect fit. But how could we afford this chance for our son? We couldn’t without his scholarship that this funding makes possible. We urge you to provide for these children. We can’t do it alone.

– Rae, Conway

“My daughter was struggling in public school. She had meltdowns and even self harmed hitting her head with her hands. She hated going to school. Now 2 years later at [this private school], there are no more meltdowns or self harming. She had made friends and is learning much more than just a basic education, she is learning to live and thrive in the world around her and she is being taught by the most loving people I have ever met. My daughter is 11 years old and already transitioning into a wonderful young lady thanks to this scholarship and some of the best teachers I’ve ever seen,  I am confident her future will be bright. Thank you for this scholarship, it has changed our lives.

– Lesley, Mayflower

Without the scholarship, my child would be unable to go to school at all, especially a public school where they would not be equipped to handle her many medical issues. My 12-year-old daughter has chronic autoimmune encephalitis and has vey specialized leads.” … “For the first time in her life, my daughter has friends and a social life and is flourishing on grade level. Our family puts all of our extra money into finding medical treatments for her and we have traveled to six different states looking for it and paying for a lot of it out of pocket in spite of having two forms of medical insurance. Therefore we could not afford specialized school or any other school if it were not for the scholarship.

– Marcelyn, Conway

“Without the Succeed Scholarship we would not be able to enroll her in [this private school]. This scholarship and this school have made such a difference in her life and ours. We are thankful for the opportunity this scholarship provides for our family.

– Jamie, Conway

“I am writing to let you know about the profound impact the AR Succeed Scholarship has had on my family. My daughter is approximately 4 years behind her same-age peers in physical growth and all areas of development. She attends a private school with special education classes with the help of the Succeed Scholarship. Although my husband and I are both working, we have other family members to support including another daughter who will begin college next year. Even with 2 incomes, affording the care required by a special needs child is a challenge. Succeed is aptly named. It gives children like my daughter and her friends the chance to succeed – not just in academics, but in being happy and growing socially in a place that feels right for them, because it is right for them.  Every family’s vision of success for the special child is unique, and it is imperative that we have opportunities to select the educational programming that best positions our children for future success as we define it.

– Alison, Little Rock

“… I knew that my child needed more support. … Most importantly, I knew that when he started visiting the regular classrooms, he became more and more withdrawn and less assured of his abilities.  That was not an acceptable outcome for my child with autism, and it shouldn’t be the fate of innocent children whose brains work differently than their neuro-typical peers. After much thought and prayer, we enrolled our child in a school that was staffed and structured to help kids with special needs. As a parent, there is no price too high to pay just to know that your child is safe and in a quality learning environment. But, that’s not the full story.  The truth is that there was a price, and it cost us dearly. … Even with all of our efforts, we were still overwhelmed by the additional costs for his therapies, childcare, and transportation.  The hard truth was that we were slowly going into serious debt. When the Succeed Scholarship was announced, I was one of the first parents trying to find out more about it. I thought this would be an answer to so many prayers, and it was just that.  Once we received the scholarship, it truly changed our lives. … There is no substitute for having the peace that comes with knowing that you are giving your child with special needs the supports he or she deserves to reach their full potential. I will advocate day and night for my child and others like him, and this scholarship is certainly something that I truly believe makes a difference for families with kids with special needs. I will always be eternally grateful for my state leaders and the visionaries that cared enough about our kids to fund The Succeed Scholarship. I’m so proud that they never accepted that one size fits all and that they valued my child by investing in his education and the future our very special kids!

– Staci, Proud mom of a gifted child with autism

I am a stay at home mom, not by choice, but because our older daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 7 in 2008 and have been fighting recurrences since then, which forced me to quit my job and stay home to care for her. We have twins that just turned 13 – a boy that is “typical” and a girl, who was diagnosed with a chromosome deletion when she was 2 – causing several physiological differences as well as developmental delays.” … “It may seem like a small thing but the thought of her sitting at lunch by herself  is truly heartbreaking and I worry that this would become her “norm” if she was forced to attend a mainstream school… not to mention completely failing academically. She already has a hard time with school but with the scholarship, she’s able to attend a school that accepts and embraces her, allowing for an open & friendly learning environment.

– Melissa, Greenbrier