This month’s alumni blog is another edition of our ‘Next Generation’ series. Featured this month is SPSF NWA Alum and current board member LaDeana Duncan Fleshman and her son Sir Duncan.

LaDeana graduated in December of 2007 from John Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Her personal goal was to graduate college before she turned 30. She graduated one month before her 30th birthday. Deana is a Senior Manager of Health & Wellness Implementation at the Sam’s Club Home Office.

Sir is currently a freshman at the University of Central Arkansas majoring in Political Science and hopes to someday become a lawyer.

Deana, what has been the most rewarding thing about having a degree?
I’ve had my degree for quite some time now. Of course it’s rewarding to be able to support my children on my own financially, but to me it’s most rewarding to engage with SPSF NWA recipients and alumni. I have stayed involved with the organization since graduating and am truly passionate about helping create opportunities for other single parents to succeed.

Tell us a little bit about your family.
Sir is 18 and loves politics and history. He plans to be a lawyer.
Lauren is 17 and wants to either be a high school science teacher or a video programmer/designer.
Justice is 16 and trying to decide between a culinary or a medical career.
Riley is 15 and wants to be a professional athlete or a computer programmer.
Ryker is 7 and wants to be a police officer.

On May 23, 2017, in beautiful Lake Tahoe, my husband Roman Fleshman and I were married by a slightly tacky Elvis impersonator.

Who kept you motivated during your time as an SPSF scholarship recipient?
My best friend would always send me handwritten notes of encouragement that would randomly show up in my mailbox. It was nice to receive anything that wasn’t a bill, but a note to tell me to “keep on keeping on” was more encouraging than she probably ever realized.

Deana, how did your pursuit of a college education influence your children and other people in your life?
The best friend that used to send me notes of encouragement—went back to school and finished her nursing degree. Not only that, but my son Sir is now in college. Seeing me go to school planted that idea in his head. College was never not an option to him. He’s always talked about going for as long as I can remember.

Sir, what impact did your mother attending college have on you?

My mother going to college showed me that I could achieve what I want in life if I’m fully committed.

What does SPSF NWA mean to you Sir?
SPSF NWA has shown me a community that will do anything to help others achieve their goals and form healthy relationships.

What was the most beneficial part of being an SPSF NWA scholarship recipient?
The most beneficial part of being a recipient was the extra help and experiences provided by the organization. From giving us spare tickets to the Walton Arts Center to providing my kids with mini-scholarships for back to school supplies. However, over the last decade, I’d say the most rewarding part is the relationships the SPSF NWA Alumni Association has created.

Sir, what would you like to say to SPSF NWA donors/supporters?
Donors and supporters—just know that any action helps. Giving time or money to this organization has greatly impacted my life.

Lastly Deana, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment since completing your degree?
To date, I am most proud of successfully raising my son Sir and being able to send him off to college. As a single parent for 17 years of his life—it makes me so proud to see him pursue his dreams. I feel a sense of accomplishment for being able to give back to SPSF NWA by serving on their board, encouraging the recipients, and even placing some SPSF NWA Alumni with jobs. Knowing that you’ve helped place a single parent in a job that brings a family out of poverty is very rewarding.