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financial aid

In my spare time,  since I was little, I have loved being creative and art. My grandma sewed and crafted and taught me to sew and do a variety of crafty things in the summers when I would spend two weeks each year at their farm.

In elementary school I won free art lessons at the Des Moines Art Museum and was always involved in art club and art classes throughout school. I remember being little and getting such joy from looking at what I made and created. When I went to high school I still loved art but you had to pick which form of art to pursue :drawing, painting, photography, etc. and I was confused about which to pick and so I dropped it all and decided to focus on classes that would help me to go to college. I felt that I wasn’t good enough to actually have a career in art but my heart still yearned to be creative.

Now, let’s just say I’m older and wiser but still have the same glee that I did as a little kid when I create something. My son is the same way. A couple of years ago my kids and I cleaned our basement and half of it became a game room for them and the other half an art room for me and the kiddos too. Since then I have started to sew and make things for friends for their birthdays. This summer because my finances are in turmoil (being a college student with a mortgage and utilities to pay will do it to you) my kids and I decided to try to make gas money for the car by selling things that we knew how to make.

So, we started an Etsy business called Mamasunbear2. The name is a whole other story, folks. We also made a Facebook page with the same name for our business. The challenging thing for me is that it has caused my to place a value on what I create and make. It’s opened my mind to self criticism and doubts in my ability to make something that people would actually like or even buy. This fall I have become even more determined to try to make our little business work because my daughter will be going to college next fall. She needs to take her ACT, have money to send in with college applications, etc. and to be totally honest I just don’t have the finances to do that.

Through prayer I feel compelled to continue to try to make our business work since it has been such a bonding experience for all three of us. I make and create the items, my son helps in making things, and my daughter helps to take pictures of our stuff and to ship and deliver orders. It has caused our little family to work together for a greater cause. I know that my son came up with the idea Bowties for Big Dogs for shelter dogs (to make them look more approachable and get adopted faster) and we recently made some of those to sell with the money made from each bowtie going to the Kansas City Pet Project animal shelter where we volunteer. Both of my kids went to church camp over the summer and adopted a little boy through Compassion Child to be their little brother. When we sell things we take part of the money and send to help their Compassion Child, Angel.

I love that my kiddos have learned to pay it forward in the world through selling things that they make. That is what keeps me going and creating. If you would like to see what we do you can check out our Etsy store or like our Facebook page (my kiddos love seeing how many likes we can get). Our name is Mamasunbear2.

As I say to each buyer and looker of our things- thanks for being a blessing to my children and I. Blessings- Sherry


I was extremely late turning in my financial aid this year. I would recommend to all college students to never procrastinate with financial aid. Take my advice from my own experience and file it asap after January! The sooner the better.

After classes began, I was getting several phone calls and e-mails from the business office about all this money I owed for my tuition. I had to pay an out of pocket fee just to hold my classes until October because I didn’t turn in my final financial aid paperwork until mid-September.

When my financial aid was finalized, I still had a big gap that I needed to fill. Again, the business office was warning me that if I didn’t pay for my tuition, I would get taken out of my classes. I spent the next 48 hours applying for loans at every website I could find, but I had more technical difficulty errors than being denied (since I didn’t have a co-signer).

Halfway into the semester, I found a miracle laying on top of my coffee table. It was mail from Fontbonne University. I ripped it open and could immediately see it was about my tuition. I couldn’t bare to read another warning letter, but fortunately the first word I read was: “CONGRATULATIONS!”

It is truly a blessing!!! I received an additional scholarship that covered more than what I needed! A great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t know where the scholarship came from and couldn’t find information on what it was for, but I am so grateful to have received it. 🙂 Nevertheless, I have learned my lesson!

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.