L.I.F.E. at Allerton

Keisha Aiken enjoyed being a part of the Literacy and Independence for Family Education (L.I.F.E.) program at Kent State. In 2006, she was invited to live at the Allerton Apartments as a Kent State University freshman raising a son by herself.

Keisha Aiken and her son go to the Student Center after work and school to grab a bite to eat

Aiken said it was tough being a mom as a freshman, but the L.I.F.E. program helped her with both academics and extracurriculars that first year.

“I wouldn’t be at Kent State if it weren’t for L.I.F.E.,” Aiken said. “I had so much support that first year here. I felt really at home at Allerton, and I had girls to go to for support.”

Today, Aiken is a mentor for new students entering into this program.

Lydia Clayton is one of several moms benefitting from the L.I.F.E. program this academic year at Kent State

The L.I.F.E. program began in 2006 to assist single parents at Kent State University. Aiken said the program allows up to 10 single mom’s or dad’s to stay together in the Allerton Apartments. The program gives mother’s a community and group for one academic year, along with financial aid, day care support and housing.

People admitted into the program are given a book scholarship, and are invited to attend a variety of workshops on parenting, sexual abuse, nutrition and teaching children to read. Aiken said there are workshops about two times a month. She said parents who aren’t in the porgram can still sign up for the workshops to gain knowledge and assistance.

Aiken said the L.I.F.E. program will be put on-hold for at least a year starting Fall 2011 because of the closing of the Allerton Apartments. Aiken said L.I.F.E. isn’t sure where to house single parents after Allerton closes, so the moms aren’t scattered around the area. She said L.I.F.E. will still host a few workshops, though.

Aiken said she recommends moms and dads go to Rachel Anderson, director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Students (CAVS), if they need any resources for child care.

“It’s rough being a single mom,” she said. “L.I.F.E. really helped put my life back into balance. It gives moms a sense of belonging. The moms can meet other women in the same situation, and it’s a really uplifting experience.”


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