Meet a Recipient: Charity Shatwell

What is your son’s name, and how old is he?
His name is Bear Morris Crownshield, and he is turned three years old on April 8th.
Where are you attending school, and what is your major?
I am currently completing prerequisites through NWACC to attend the Dental Hygiene Program at U of A Fort Smith.
What is something that has surprised you about parenthood?
Parenthood changes every single aspect of our life, and if you accept this graciously, there is no greater blessing.
What is your favorite parenting moment?
This would be impossible to say since I tend to develop a new favorite every single day. A very recent one that comes to mind would be… when I was putting Bear to bed a few weeks ago, I was so exhausted from a long grumpy day due to a head cold. I needed him to go straight to sleep so I could get started on homework. When I left the room, he called, “Mommy,” and I was so
worried he would give me trouble; instead, he said “Pwoud of you,” aka I’m proud of you. This was such an amazing moment. For one, because it means I say it enough to him that it’s made an impression. For two, because there is no person in the world I would rather earn pride from!
Where do you like to hang out with your family in NWA?
We spend most of our time together at families’ houses. We usually gather at church and find places outdoors to walk in the woods or play by the water. Bear and I spend quite a lot of time alone throwing rocks in the stream behind Butterfield trail or Lake Fayetteville. We also really enjoy the area surrounding Gulley Park, and I try to take him to see the horses at Flying Q ranch at least twice a month.
What is something you wish people would have told you before having kids?
That some kids don’t sleep (giggles). Bear woke up every hour on the hour for the first full year of his life. Through patience, sleep training, and lots of love, he has a fantastic schedule now. But I sometimes feel like I’ll never catch up on sleep! It’s a sweet exhaustion, to be fair.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I’m a musician, so we love making music. We play sports in the backyard, practice learning how to use his youth bow and arrows, ride bikes, take walks, and read books! I always aim for variety, so he has a broad capacity for life skills!
What is your idea of a great weekend?
Taking Bear to a cabin near the Buffalo River to hike, ride horses, and play at the river. Then going to church with our family on Sunday.
Where do you find inspiration?
My spiritual walk with God is everything when it comes to feeling inspired and encouraged to keep pressing on.
How did you hear about SPSFNWA?
My mother told me about it. She was familiar because I had a sister who was a single mother for a time, and I believe she was an applicant, if not a recipient.
What is one word that sums you up?
What are some words to live by/favorite quote: 
“Only as high as I reach can I grow, Only as far as I seek can I go
Only as deep as I look can I see, Only as much as I dream can I be.”
Why do you value education? 
I had never intended to go back to school initially. I always made a good living in dentistry, but when I became a single mother, I realized that it would take much more financially to provide alone. Because of this, my education is so, so important to me. I have always wanted to stay home with my son until he was old enough to go to school. Because of this scholarship, I can do that.
What do your children want to be when they grow up?
Right now, he’s nearly three, so he hasn’t hit the point where he talks about this yet. That being said, he is an artist, a musician, a sports star, a horseback rider, a dentist, and a doctor! A little man of many talents. 
What do you enjoy most as a parent? 
Quality time with him, watching him play, problem solve, and learn is fascinating to me. His company is wildly entertaining, and I try to soak up every second with him! They are only small for a short time, after all.
What made you decide to go back to school, and how did you choose your major? 
Purely to ensure that Bear and I do not struggle the way I have seen single parent families struggle. There are plenty of other ways to build character other than suffering from constant lack. I’m so determined that he feels safe and secure in every way possible. I chose dental hygiene because I have over a decade of experience in this position already, but with a degree, I can more than double my hourly pay.
How are you and your family adjusting to online classes?
Honestly, it has been ideal for us. Because it prevents me from requiring childcare, it is a dream. I don’t have to spend extra time away from my son until absolutely necessary.
How has being home during COVID-19 impacted you?
The only difference I would say was anxiety when I needed to leave the house and take him with me. I’ve always hated to have him in public during flu season and even more so when everything seemed to be going wild.
Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
There is a feeling that I have often struggled with far before single motherhood where I felt very much like an inconvenience to people who would want to help me. The single parent scholarship leads me to feel as though they’re not only helping but joyful to help. I’m so humbled, but I don’t feel like a burden to the scholarship. I honestly feel cherished and respected.

How will life be different for you and your family after you graduate? 
We will finally have the ability to stand on our own feet. The ability to afford a safer car, our own home, and not rely on any state assistance. I so look forward to being a good provider and once again be a productive member of society. I want to set an example for my son about hard work, determination, dreaming big, and achieving those dreams.
What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
There are no words to accurately say what this scholarship means to me. I speak of it everywhere I go, and I can scarcely talk without getting emotional. It’s amazing that there is an organization that goes to such lengths to invest in our future. I have received more help from this scholarship than any person who would or should have had a responsibility toward us. It is life-changing. I’m so humbled. We are so blessed. Thank you so, so very much from the bottom of my heart!

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