New Amarillo College club organization aims to connect with students who are parents

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Last summer, Abbie Landry decided to go back to college and finish her education, a journey at times can be lonely for the mother of four.

“Going to school and having four children, you don’t meet a lot of people who are in your shoes,” said Landry. “I always think about that clip from Billy Madison that Adam Sandler movie where he’s sitting on the first grade class and you kind of feel like that at some points like, ‘I don’t want to be here maybe I should be home cooking, taking care of the kids or something’.”

The 28-year-old says her journey became more positive when she received an email about a club called, SWAP or Student Who Are Parents, an organization that provides a space for student parents to connect with each other and resources.

“It’s very difficult to come into college, especially older, you know, I’m 27,” said Nicole Emahiser, founder or SWAP. “Most of the students who are parents that I know aren’t coming straight out of high school so, a lot of us are coming back to college and feeling a little bit of that impostor syndrome.”

Currently, the club has more than 20 members.

Emahiser says the ultimate goal is to decrease the dropout rate among students who have children.

“Culturally a lot of women will get pregnant and think, well I have to drop out, there’s not another option right,” said Emahiser. “Well, I’d like them to see other people succeeding at it and know that they have a support network to lean on when things get tough.”

“Having a support group is incredible and learning about like the CLEP test,” said Landry. “Different options that I really didn’t know about until I joined the club.”

SWAP currently meets once a month and because of COVID-19 it has been doing so through Zoom.

Within this semester, the program hopes to start a textbook swap and more down the road start childcare swap.

“I’ve had to pay a babysitter just for a couple of hours just to take an exam and if you have friend within the same group that can do that, it lifts each other up,” said Landry.

To join swap, students only need to be enrolled in AC either full time or part-time.

Dads are also encouraged to join.

If you would like to support the program you can do so by providing resources.

“Let’s say you own a bookstore and would like to offer it to Students Who Are Parents to meet there or have a study space,” said Emahiser. “If you have a childcare facility and would like to offer discounts to members of our club or if you want to donate money so we can help students who are struggling with textbooks.”

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