Walk/run event to help single moms earn a college degree

<p>Hundreds of runners and walkers will gather on Sunday, March 29, at Arizona State University’s West campus for the inaugural “5K Walk-n-Run for Success.” Proceeds from the event will benefit Helping Hands for Single Moms, an award-winning Valley-based nonprofit organization.<br /><br />Helping Hands for Single Moms works to empower single mothers to provide for their families by helping them attain a college education, affordable housing, and financial literacy. While pursuing degrees at Phoenix-area colleges and universities, the 40 single mothers now involved in the program receive a combination of financial aid, money management and life skills training, a laptop computer, assistance with car maintenance, and support from a mentor.<br /><br />“This is an excellent way to reach out to the community and play a role in an event that benefits such a worthy cause,” says Dan Turbyfill, events manager for ASU’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership. “Many of the students supported by this organization are attending ASU, and if we can assist them in any way, it’s important that we do so.”<br /><br />Emis Cox, a single mother of four children from age 9 to 19, is working toward a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in Spanish through ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Before being chosen through a rigorous selection process to receive assistance from Helping Hands for Single Moms, she worked two jobs while attending Glendale Community College part-time.<br /><br />“I realized that higher education would be my pathway to improved employment opportunities, even though it appeared impossible because of the immense responsibility I had as a single mother with no family around to help,” Cox says. Assistance from Helping Hands enabled her to cut back to one job, but she still juggles the responsibilities of work, school, and motherhood.<br /><br />“Emis is a perfect example of the type of individual we are striving to help – a hard-working single mom who is sacrificing much in order to provide a better life for her family,” says Chris Coffman, executive director of Helping Hands for Single Moms. Coffman, a longtime minister in the Valley, started Helping Hands as a pilot project in 2001. The organization now has on file the names of more than 200 women seeking assistance.<br /><br />“Helping these women continue their education benefits us all,” Coffman says. “If a single mom doesn’t succeed in obtaining a college degree, she likely will remain dependent on the state for entitlements such as food stamps, Section 8 housing, or subsidized health or child care.”<br /><br />The March 29 fundraiser also will serve to launch the Single Mom College Community, as single mothers attending 10 partner colleges and universities across the Valley will meet and network for the first time.<br /><br />On-site registration for the 5K Walk-n-Run for Success starts at 8:00 a.m. on March 29; the race begins at 9:30. Additional attractions include a special kid zone, clowns, food, music, and information booths providing details about college resources available to single moms.<br /><br />Staff from Runner’s Den will lay out the 5K course at ASU’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The Phoenix Suns Gorilla will shoot his confetti cannon to start the race. ASU’s mascot Sparky also will be on hand to support the racers.<br /><br />The registration fee for the Walk-n-Run is $22. Participants are encouraged to register as teams. To register online, join a team, or make a donation, visit <a href="http://www.helpsinglemoms.org/">www.helpsinglemoms.org</a>.</p&gt;