The APRO Education Foundation is now accepting applicants for its 2019 scholarship season. Now in its second decade, the program provides opportunities for rent-to-own professionals and their families to attend college. Trevor Dobbs, a three-time scholarship recipient, is not only a first-generation high school graduate but as of May 2019, he is a first-generation college graduate as well. While pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri, Trevor filled his time in college with campus activities, study-abroad programs, and student government positions.
Currently, Trevor is a content writer for The Current newspaper, a marketing agent at the startup, ShiftSmart, and tutors online for Chegg Inc. Dobbs plans to pursue a graduate degree in public administration at Erasmus University, the top-ranked public administration program in the Netherlands, in the fall. The program incorporates elements of business, finance, economics, international relations, political science, and law.
Dobbs credits the APRO Education Foundation for helping him achieve his success thus far. “I would not have been able to make all of this happen without the help of APRO and the RTO community,” says Dobbs, son of Thomas Dobbs, who has worked for the industry for almost a decade.
Dobbs’ story is just one of the dozens that generous donations from the RTO community makes possible. For more than a decade, APRO’s Education Foundation has annually provided scholarships to rent-to-own professionals and their families and the time to apply is now. APRO members have contributed generously to the association’s Scholarship Fund – awarding 325 scholarships totaling $759,000 to date – to help students connected with RTO pursue their college degrees. The deadline to apply is this Friday at 5:00 p.m.
Tornadoes tore through the Midwest over the last two weeks impacting metropolitan areas such as Dayton, Ohio. While the death toll from the EF4 tornado in Dayton showed a miraculous zero, the structural damage and physical destruction caused by the storm was devastating.
APRO member, former board member and owner of SRKinnear, Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase in Dayton, Ohio, Scott Kinnear, had his store touched with fortunately only minor damage while the nearby apartment complexes, home to many of his customers, were destroyed. These customers will likely relocate long-term due to no commitment to rebuild by the complex owners. “As I drove around bearing witness to the hardest hit communities in Dayton, all any of us here at Premier Rental-Purchase could do was be thankful that no one lost their life,” shares Kinnear.
Sadly, one of his employees, Antuan Thortan, was also affected, being displaced from his home. Thortan was able to recover some of his belongings and is now living with his girlfriend’s parents. Along with losing his home, he and many who experienced the same, have to miss work for a few days. FEMA and other local agencies are responding to immediate needs, but more can always be done.
While finding solace in these times with natural disasters is hard, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund was established to help rent-to-own employees recover in these situations. Since 2005, APRO members have contributed to the fund which has dispersed more than $425,000 to those affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. Due to the unfortunate frequency of these natural disasters, APRO’s membership is ready to help RTO employees at any time with its established RTO [Relief To Our] Employees Disaster Relief Fund.
If your company is an APRO member, and you or your employee(s) have been affected by a recent natural disaster, you might qualify for assistance. Click here to apply for assistance and APRO staff will contact you.
St. Louis-based Rent One kicked off its seventh annual Great Expectations Charity of Choice campaign, once again providing philanthropic grant distributions to a variety of charities across the Midwest.
The annual charity event is driven by voluntary weekly payroll deductions from employees in Rent One’s approximately 100 stores across eleven regions, with pooled donations matched by corporate participation as well as contributions from Rent One’s Larry and Sharon Carrico. The Great Expectations Charity of Choice campaign collected more than $95,000 over the last year for distribution in 2019.
The Charity of Choice campaign will fund grants this year to fourteen charities, four of which are new recipients this year. Returning grant recipients include Camp We We Se Je, CASA of Jefferson County, CASA of Williamson County, Voices for Children, Challenger League Baseball, Boys and Girls Club of Poplar Bluff, River of Hope, Madison County Imagination Library, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and Our Little Haven. New donation recipients for 2019 include Kentucky State Police Trooper Island, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, Special Learning Center, and Whiz Kids Oklahoma.
The Charity of Choice campaign donations will be used to meet a variety of specific charitable needs, including camp scholarships; recruiting, training and supervising volunteers; expanding and improving facilities; and purchasing new equipment, books, and computers. Grants this year range from $5000 to $10,000 per charity.
This year’s Charity of Choice campaign received significant attention in the local press and news channels, including the Centralia Mt. Vernon Sentinel and the Jefferson City News Tribune.
RNR Tire Express [RNR], the nation’s fastest-growing tire and custom wheel franchise, continued the tradition of its annual Mother’s Day car and tire giveaway in early May. Communities across the nation had the opportunity to nominate their own “superhero moms,” who have given all they have to motherhood, to be surprised with the ultimate gift – a free car, as part of the brand’s annual initiative. Selected from thousands of entries, RNR Tire Express honored superhero moms, Jennifer Wheeler in Tampa, FL, Tammy Niederhelman in Joplin, MO, and Carol Vangilder in Little Rock, AR, for their incredible sacrifices and kind hearts.
RNR recognized each mother at surprise reveal events at their local stores where nominating families presented their moms with the ultimate gifts – a free vehicle. The moms were presented with a Ford Fusion, and two Buick Encores. In addition to the national car giveaway, RNR franchisees across the nation teamed up to collectively give away 25 sets of tires to mothers recognized as runners-up in the nationwide contest.
“I am so thankful for this honor.” says Wheeler. “This Ford Fusion will help tremendously, with myself and my family and what I do to help others in the community. There are so many opportunities to help people and this is definitely going to help me do it!”
The Mother’s Day car giveaway initiative was started by APRO Second Vice President David Harrison, a partner in Rental Concepts, an RNR Franchise Group with stores in AR, LA, TX, OK and MO in honor of his own mother. David saw her struggle as she raised four children on her own, working endlessly to provide for her family. Harrison reached a point in his life where he could repay his mother by gifting her a new car. The magnitude of her gratitude and happiness lit a flame in Harrison’s heart, which has inspired the national annual giveaway – one that will continue to help deserving moms around the nation for years to come.
“At RNR, we value philanthropy and giving back. As David, I too was raised by a hardworking, single mom who gave all she had to provide a good life for her and her children. It’s an honor to positively impact the lives of the hardworking moms across the nation,” says Larry Sutton, founder and president of RNR Tire Express. “Mothers give everything they have to support their children and unfortunately, the world sometimes repays them with harsh life challenges and roadblocks. We are happy to play a role in making a difference in Jennifer’s life to alleviate stresses in a small, but impactful way – with a safe form of transportation and a sign of hope.”
For more information about RNR Tire Express, please visit www.RNRtires.com
The APRO Education Foundation is now accepting applicants for its 2019 scholarship season. Now in its second decade, the program provides opportunities for rent-to-own professionals and their families to attend college. Cody McSwain, a student-athlete pursuing a degree in biology at Freed Hardeman University is an example of the nearly 400 hard-working students that the program has sponsored over the last decade.
McSwain, a first generation college student, balances his demanding studies with the rigorous schedule of the Freed Hardeman Lions baseball program. He plans to graduate in 2020 with a degree in biology, and is currently weighing whether to pursue a career as a physician or a forensic examiner.
Growing up, McSwain and his sister were encouraged by their parents to pursue a college education. While money was always tight, McSwain’s parents were able to provide their children with the tools needed to succeed. Household items, and even the cost of tires for their children’s cars came through opportunities provided by the RTO industry.
Although McSwain maintains a demanding schedule as a full time student and athlete, he dedicates what free time he has available to giving back to his community. He is a frequent participant in fundraising activities for charitable causes at Freed Hardeman University, and works in the Freed Hardeman baseball program’s Champions of Character program as a mentor to local school age children. In the summer McSwain is a frequent sight behind the plate at Little League baseball games, umpiring for games as a volunteer.
McSwain’s story is just one of the dozens that generous donations from the RTO community makes possible. Each year, the APRO Scholarship Foundation is able to provide students like McSwain the resources they need to take ownership of their futures thanks to your continued support. We hope that you will take a moment to support the next generation of leaders from our RTO-family with a generous gift to our program. Thank you!
APRO Hall of Honor recipient David Keen’s, Rent One Public Relations Director, 15-year affiliation with the Mentors 4 Kids program in Southern Illinois recently came to an end as the organization lost its funding for the region. Keen and several prominent individuals and organizations are coming together to reach out to the community for assistance in helping the youth in the area by filling the void with the newly formed Jefferson County Mentor Program.
“There are a lot of needs for both foster kids and to mentor,” says Keen, former Mt. Vernon mayor, and program organizer. “A lot of kids go to school and come home to see their parents doing drugs or going through some type of violence, or they don’t have food. They don’t know a normal life.”
A breakfast to discuss the program and various community needs will be held from 7:30-8:30 a.m. April 8 at Rare Chop House in Mt. Vernon, IL. Speakers at the event will include Jefferson County Presiding Judge Jo Beth Weber, Illinois Appellate Court Justice David K. Overstreet, and APRO scholarship recipient Javontay Moss, who grew up being mentored by Keen since he was five.
“The program allowed me to have a positive male influence in my life that I didn’t have before,” shares Moss who currently attends the University of Southern Indiana and is studying communications and social services. “It has had a direct influence on where I am now.”
The new program will adopt many procedures and framework that the former Mentors 4 Kids organization had but with a focus directly on the youth of Jefferson County. The new program is seeking mentors to take some time every week to help guide children who need a positive influence in their life. Information on how the community can be involved with various agencies will be at the event and will include Angel’s Cove, CASA, Safe Families for Children and Spero Family Services.
“We know there is an absolute need for this program,” says Keen. “We are initiating this meeting to formulate a plan and get the ball rolling.”
Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing recently filled the new home of a single mom and her four sons with furniture, electronics, and appliances as a surprise in Augusta, GA. This wish come true was part of Aaron’s partnership with the Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC) Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program, sponsored by former NFL star Warrick Dunn. The WDC HFTH program helps single parents become first-time homeowners.
Additional partnerships with the City of Augusta’s Homeownership Assistance Program, Peach State Federal Credit Union (FCU), and Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia helped provide Valencia and her family with a new, fully furnished home.
“Aaron’s is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Warrick Dunn Charities to provide a deserving Augusta family a safe place to call home,” says John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “We have a longstanding tradition of giving back to communities across the country and we’re so pleased that these furnishings will be able to help make a difference for this family in their lives for years to come.”
Valencia works as an educator and strives to equip her children with skills that reach far beyond the classroom. She serves as an influential role model for her students in school and for her family at home.
Aaron’s has been a longtime supporter of WDC initiatives and has contributed home furnishings, appliances, and electronics to the Homes for the Holidays program for the past 16 years.
Lillian Snyder is involved with community activities inside her high school community and the greater community. “Someone once told me to make the most of high school because it’s free,” says Snyder, a member of both the National Honor Society and an officer in the Hispanic Honors Society. The incoming freshman at the University of Central Florida was a leader improving her school community by tutoring other students in Geometry, Algebra II, and Precalculus; working as part of a school beautification team and organizing food drives for events ranging from natural disasters to the holiday season.
Outside of her school, Snyder supports her local community in a bevy of roles, working with Rise Against Hunger, the Special Olympics Bowling tournament, the local library, and Save-A-Pet Rescue. Snyder appreciates the joy these activities bring, while also being cognizant of the fact that these activities are learning opportunities. For example, Snyder’s work with her local library’s “Soundsational Storytime” interactive program has provided her with direct experience dealing with young children and the importance of patience in dealing with them.
The RTO-industry figures prominently in enabling Snyder to be such an important member of her local community. “My mother was able to continue going to college, and my grandparents were able to continue to take care of me,” explains Snyder, the daughter of a single mother. The financial challenges facing her family from a young age have underlined the importance of the RTO-industry in providing opportunities for struggling families to acquire basic household appliances that provide the breathing room to seek new opportunities. RTO continues to play a vital role in Snyder’s development, with the APRO scholarship assisting in Snyder’s college education.
Snyder is a member of the 2018 cohort receiving funding from the APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. She is among a group of 47 students given over $110,000 worth from APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund’s mission of helping futures leaders take ownership of their dreams is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will take a moment to support the next group of emerging leaders from our RTO-family by donating today.
Haleigh Adams-Salaberrios had to grow up quickly. Her parents divorced early in her life, forcing her mother to work full time to provide for Adams-Salaberrios and her younger sister. As a result, she found herself filling the role of primary caretaker for her younger sister, doing everything from cooking food to making sure they had clean clothes to wear to school. During this time Adams-Salaberrios coped with the post-traumatic stress of sexual assault. Rather than enjoy a leisurely childhood, Adams-Salaberrios faced some of the ugly realities of the world from a young age.
The incoming Wayne State College freshman hopes to obtain a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, ultimately becoming a criminal investigator. When recovering from her own trauma, Adams-Salaberrios realized the importance of catching perpetrators to minimize the harm they could do. She uses the trauma from her childhood experiences as fuel to motivate her in her studies and volunteer work.
Adams-Salaberrios is an accomplished student, earning a place on Kearney Catholic school’s honor roll for every year of her high school career and joining the National Honor Society. Her education has also encouraged volunteering in various capacities such as fundraising for the school through Kearney’s G.O.L.D. event and working as a frequent volunteer at local nursing homes and senior communities.
“Many people think that their parent’s place of work is just that, their parent’s place of work….to me it is our support system,” explains Adams-Salaberrios when speaking about her mother’s career at Premier Rental Purchase. Starting at Premier as a sales representative soon after her divorce, Adams-Salaberrios’s mother, Evita Gove, has worked up the ranks over the last eight years to become a store manager. “…being a part of an APRO family has also taught me how being an independent woman is possible….anything you put your mind to, you can make happen.”
Adams-Salaberrios is a member of the 2018 cohort receiving funding from the APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. She is among a group of 47 students given over $110,000 worth from APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund’s mission of helping futures leaders take ownership of their dreams is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will take a moment to support the next group of emerging leaders from our RTO-family by donating today.
As a teacher in an inner city turnaround school, APRO Education Foundation scholarship recipient Myaicia Womack strives to provide students with a tangible link between academic and real-world success. Womack is currently earning her master’s degree at the University of Tampa and is part of the school’s first group of Turnaround Leadership Program (TLP) students. A passionate believer in the importance of education in combating the vicious cycle of generational poverty, Womack provides leadership both through her classroom instruction and by serving as a link between her school and stakeholders in the local community.
“I have faced many obstacles and hardships on my journey to becoming a teacher and I want my students to look up to me as a model of hope and perseverance,” says Womack. Finding her life purpose in her work at turnaround schools, Womack knows that students in such programs require not just greater involvement and love from their teachers, but also the opportunity to experience things outside of their neighborhoods. As part of this effort Womack plans to use a portion of her APRO scholarship to have her students experience simulated skydiving and the relevance of math and science to that experience at the iFly Museum in Brandon, FL.
Her work with disadvantaged students has given Womack, whose mother works at Buddy’s Rent to Own, an intimate look at the opportunities provided by the RTO industry. Womack has worked extensively with families who would otherwise have no access to basic home furnishings such as beds and tables without the RTO industry. In addition, the RTO industry has made it possible for Womack to provide new opportunities for students at her school. This past year, Womack partnered with a local rent-to-own business to obtain enough desktop computers to create a computer lab at her school and provide a computer for the highest performing student at each grade level.
Womack is a member of the 2018 cohort receiving funding from the APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. She is among a selection of 47 students given more than $110,000 worth from APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund’s mission of helping futures leaders take ownership of their dreams is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will take a moment to support the next group of emerging leaders from our RTO-family by donating today.