The winner, Tiffani Topps, is attending Chicago State University.
Top Products, a website that helps people find quality product and service reviews online, created the scholarship to honor moms whose success stories defy the odds.
Growing up in an economically deprived community is tough enough. If you add lupus, being a single mom, and being a young African-American from the South Side of Chicago to the mix, the odds of your succeeding can be daunting.
The scholarship is designed to give single moms financial support so they can achieve their educational goals. To be eligible, you must be a single mother in financial need and demonstrate academic merit.
Topps has overcome a lot of obstacles to become a symbol of the best things that the term motherhood connotes.
“Throughout my life I have heard people say, ‘You are a product of your environment,’” she said in a press release. “But my goal has always been to be better than my environment and to better myself.
“I may have grown up in a rough neighborhood, I may be a single mother, and yes, have been battling lupus, but nothing will stop me on my mission to complete school and pursue my career in healthcare,” she said. “By overcoming so much adversity, I can not only provide my daughter with financial security, but also prove that single African-American mothers everywhere can succeed, no matter the odds.”
The U.S. Census Bureau says single-mother households are the United States’ second most common family arrangement, accounting for 23 percent of families.
Single moms are often forced to spend a larger portion of their income on childcare expenses, leaving them with very little for education. Adding the financial strain that college places on any family makes it very challenging for a lot of single mothers to finish a degree.
“Top Products is a strong advocate of both higher education and family values, and we recognize that single parents need help paying for school to create a secure future for their children,” said Scott Smith, a spokesperson for Tops, which is based in Martinsville, N.J.. “Tiffani is a wonderful role model who, despite her hardships, has been incredibly committed to balancing motherhood and maintaining a 3.31 GPA.”
Chicago’s South Side has a history of racial and ethnic division, according to reports like Alden Loury’s. Although African-American families have made gains since the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, from Loury’s perspective they still have a long way to go to achieve equal access to resources.
If you have lupus, consider contacting the Lupus Society of Illinois.