By Alejandra Garcia
Students Who Are Parents, or S.W.A.P, is preparing for its first official semester as a new Amarillo College organization. “The majority of AC students have children,” Nicole Emahiser, the club founder and president, said. “The most common student is Hispanic, 26 and has two kids. That’s me,” Emahiser said. Realizing how many AC students were also parents led Emahiser to ask Student Life officials if there was a parent group for students. When she discovered there wasn’t, she decided to create S.W.A.P in October 2020.
“The interest in something like this was there,” Emahiser said. “We had 15 members sign up by the end of the first day.” Emahiser said the club seeks to recognize the difficulties in juggling life and schoolwork. The ultimate goal is to see a decrease in parents dropping out of school by providing a supporting community. “We want parents to feel involved,” Renee Stovall, a S.W.A.P. adviser, said. “We don’t want them to feel like they can’t be in a club because they have meals to cook, children to care for and a job. We don’t want the moms and dads to feel left out.”
“S.W.A.P. gears toward having a space for people to connect with others that share a commonality,” Amy Pifer, a S.W.A.P. adviser, said. “Students that have, have had, or will have kids as well as anyone else who would like to join are welcome. We’d like to connect them to resources the community gives that they didn’t know were there, such as the Advocacy and Resource Center or grants.” In addition to resources, the club members mentioned ideas for the future such as a textbook swap, family friendly events and possible day care opportunities to be in the works. S.W.A.P. also offers members a chance to list the organization on university applications as club engagement.
Due to COVID-19, S.W.A.P. is currently meeting on Zoom, but members said they hope to meet in-person later in the year. Their objective for the semester is to spread the word, recruit more members, and build their list of resources. “It takes a village, surround yourself with people that will show up and help you,” Abbie Landry, the club vice president, said. “It’s great to have someone to talk to and we want this group to support each other as we try to better our lives.”
To join, students only need to be enrolled in AC either full or part-time. Students don’t need to be a parent to join either, they welcome all who would like to be involved. Contact Student Life or Nicole Emahiser at 725-877-9840.