Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

APRO Scholarship Star: Audrey Cox

APRO Scholarship recipient Audrey Cox.

For more than a dozen years, 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 483 scholarships totaling $1,099,250 to date – empowering students connected with RTO to pursue college degrees and successful futures.

Connecticut native Audrey Cox – one of the 36 deserving 2023 APRO Scholarship recipients – has had rent-to-own as part of her life since birth. Audrey’s mom, Tennyson Cox, has worked with Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership in East Hartford, Connecticut, for 23 years. As a key support for team members and multi-unit leaders, Tennyson today serves as Divisional Office Manager.

“I remember visiting my mom’s office, going to grand openings and other stores, and attending community events Aaron’s was involved in,” recalls Audrey. “My mom has shared many stories of customers who are so grateful for Aaron’s helping them when things got tough. At Aaron’s, I’ve observed and learned the importance of people treating each other with sincerity and respect.”

Audrey’s mother is also responsible for processing ACORP requests for the stores she supports; Aaron’s Community OutReach Program (ACORP) helps support and sustain their communities through volunteer and financial contributions to local charities. Audrey helped facilitate one such donation.

“In 2011, a student from my hometown of Coventry, Connecticut, launched a campaign called PJ Day for the Kids, to raise money for the Connecticut Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders,” Audrey explains. “His younger sister was a cancer survivor, and it was his way of giving back for everything the organization had done for his sister and family. For a small donation, you could wear your pajamas to school or work for the day. PJ Day for the Kids has grown to a statewide event, raising over $1.4 million for cancer research over the years. Through ACORP, Aaron’s has donated almost $10,000 to this cause, and I was honored to help present a $5,000 ACORP check presentation in December 2022.”

Audrey Cox (fourth from R) helps present a generous check from Aaron’s for the charity PJ Day for the Kids; the cancer survivor who inspired the organization’s creation stands second from R.

This fundraising effort was especially close to Audrey’s heart because of her interest in the medical field. Inspired by a positive ER experience following a particularly painful volleyball accident in high school (and a mild obsession with Grey’s Anatomy), Audrey enrolled in an intense 12-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course, finished at the top of her class, and earned her national certification at the age of 16.

Last fall, with her APRO Scholarship – jointly funded by the Northeast Rental Dealers Association and the Colorado Rental Dealers Association – Audrey began a five-year accelerated Physician Assistant (PA) program at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. She will complete her Bachelor’s degree in Health Science in 2026, then enter a 28-month program to earn her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies, ultimately graduating as a certified PA.

A well-established scholar, Audrey previously served as the first president of her school’s National Junior Honor Society, and was an active participant in the National Honor Society through high school. She also received the Coventry High School Patriot Award her junior year; selected by teachers and administrators, the honor goes to one male and one female from each grade level who demonstrate civic, social, and personal awareness and responsibility, as well as respect for other individuals and the school community.

Today, in addition to her studies, Audrey works part-time as an EMT, volunteers for the local fire department, and works in a hospital adult behavioral health unit as a psychiatric technician. She believes her strong desire and drive to help others is due at least in part to growing up around RTO.

“To me,” concludes Audrey, “the rent-to-own industry represents good people helping good people.”

Audrey’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.

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