For more than a decade, the APRO Charitable Foundation has annually provided scholarships to rent-to-own professionals and their families. APRO members have contributed generously to the APRO Scholarship Fund – awarding 418 scholarships totaling $940,750 to date – empowering students connected with RTO to pursue college degrees and successful futures.
Kansas native Zoe Bass – one of the year’s 34 deserving APRO scholarship recipients – is a young woman with a rare combination of confidence, caring, and hustle. Zoe says though the pandemic kept her sitting in her bedroom learning from a laptop for the back half of her high-school years, she kept her eye on the prize.
“I’ve always had huge aspirations for myself,” says Zoe. “I want to go far and do big things, and I know what I’m passionate about: cosmetology. I want to own my own business, my own salon. During the pandemic, I’ve kept my dreams alive by practicing my skills daily, seeking guidance from adults who want the best for me, and always thinking about what I can do now to improve my chances of success later.”
During her junior year of high school, Zoe earned her Certified Nursing Aide certification and began working in a nursing home – during the first awful wave of the COVID-19 crisis. She also enrolled in college courses in addition to her regular classes, and still managed to graduate high school three months early, with 30 college credits already under her belt.
“Zoe is not only a great student, but a great person,” says Whitney Aves, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Zoe’s high school. “One thing I’ll remember about Zoe is how quick she was to invite one of our special-education students to work with her on partner work and group projects. While many others shy away from working with someone who is different from the average student, Zoe was caring and compassionate to anyone she spent time with.”
Zoe applied for and was accepted to the cosmetology program at Johnson County Community College, which accepts only 16 students each semester. Once she walked the stage for her high-school graduation, Zoe immediately got a job and moved to Kansas City – three hours from her hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas – where she’s now attending college.
“I’m excited to be attending the program that is perfect for me,” she says. “And I’m thankful to also be earning my associate’s degree while completing my cosmetology license, which will set me up for a brighter future. I can’t wait to be a professional cosmetologist, helping people look and feel their very best.”
Zoe’s drive to follow her passion and to help others is definitely influenced by her dad, Marvin Bass of Best Tire Concepts LLC, dba RNR Tire Express. Zoe has watched her father work hard and excel in rent-to-own, where in just a few years, he has risen from account manager to store manager to inventory manager for an eight-store franchise.
“I can see my dad loves his job,” Zoe says. “Every day, he talks about his work in a positive way, and my whole family can truly tell that he enjoys his work environment and the company of his coworkers. Rent-to-own has given my father a career he loves, with room for growth and new opportunities. It lets him provide for us, and make sure we’re well taken care of. And he happily shares his knowledge of RTO with others, so they can get new tires without the financial stress of having to pay for them all at once. Rent-to-own has positively impacted my dad in a way that makes him want to keep helping others and positively impact them as well.”
Zoe is grateful for RTO, and for her APRO Charitable Foundation Scholarship, which is supporting her natural dedication and determination to succeed.
“This scholarship is providing me with the financial security I need to make my dreams happen,” concludes Zoe. “I’m on a path to do amazing things for myself and this world. Being awarded this scholarship is helping ensure I’m able to achieve everything I’ve ever wanted, worked for, and deserve.”
Zoe’s is one of the dozens of positive stories that generous donations from the RTO community make happen each year. Click here to learn more and contribute to this invaluable industry effort.