William Mullenax, a resident at the Sobriety Living Center in Pine Bluff, has new hope. He is working toward something that can never be taken away from him: a college education.
Mullenax recently enrolled in college for the first time with the help of Delta Educational Opportunity Center and is attending classes at Southeast Arkansas College.
“I am proud of myself,” Mullenax said. “I wish my grandparents, who raised me, were here to see me going to school clean and sober.”
His new goals include giving back to his community. After completing an Associates of Arts in accounting at Southeast Arkansas College, he wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting and join the staff at Sobriety Living to help others, like him.
Mullenax is one of six Sobriety Living residents served by Delta EOC that is attending college this year.
“Delta EOC assisted me with the entire financial aid process, school enrollment and testing,” Mullenax said.
The Delta Educational Opportunity Center is an outreach program hosted by the University of Arkansas-Little Rock that serves Southeast Arkansas. As a federal TRIO program, it provides college access assistance to first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. The program has maintained a partnership with Sobriety Living Center since May 2016. Each month, Keisha Smith, a Delta EOC counselor, visits the center to assist participants like Mullenax with financial aid, college admission applications, and financial literacy.
“When I first met William he had goals but was unsure of how to accomplish them,” Smith said. “After sitting down and developing a plan by exploring local colleges and programs, his goals started to become realities. It was awesome to be a part of William’s transition. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”
Jennifer Stewart, the facility coordinator at Sobriety Living Center, said the SLC is very thankful for the partnership with Delta EOC. “We pride ourselves on being a family, and have truly gained new family members through this partnership,” she said. “They have come into our facility and provided hope to the men. They let them know obtaining a higher education is not impossible.”
The Sobriety Living Center was founded in April of 2008 by Myra and Kent Rinehart as a licensed, transitional living center through Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC) that assists men coming out of prison in battling their various addictions. SLC staff teach facility residents how to live a productive lifestyle in order to eliminate the potential for recidivism. Sobriety Living focuses on prevention, intervention, family reunification, and career and after care to individuals with substance abuse problems. It is a non-profit program relying solely on self-pay residents and transitional funding.
Delta EOC is a proud partner of Sobriety Living Center.
For more information on the Delta EOC program call 501-907-2470 or visit ualr.edu/deltaeoc/