One Parent Scholar House is a program for single parents who are full-time students in a post-secondary educational institution. The primary purpose of the program is to help parents and their young children develop the educational and family life skills needed to achieve self-sufficiency.

Single parents and their dependent children are the focus of the program. One Parent Scholar House is a comprehensive program which includes housing, child care, counseling, workshops, support from neighbors and staff, and special activities. These activities enhance health maintenance, parenting skills, management of family resources, nutritional knowledge, problem solving, work skills and job-search techniques.

Basic to this self-sufficiency program is educational development. Parents fulfill academic or vocational training coursework as full-time students, while their children attend the One Parent Scholar House Child Development Center. The Child Development Center accepts children from 6 weeks to 4 years old. It is a developmental curriculum based program under the guidance of competent, loving teachers. The Child Care Center is a partner with the Early Head Start (0-3 years old) program.

Completing the One Parent Scholar House program prepares families to live and work successfully. As each family succeeds and leaves the facility, another family moves in and begins to profit from this unique, integrated and comprehensive program.


History of One Parent Scholar House

In 1986, Virginia Place opened with 15 apartments on Virginia Avenue.

In 1995, the program moved to Horseman’s Lane where it occupied seven buildings that included 56 two-bedroom apartments (Virginia Place Phase I).

In 2006, three additional buildings were built with 16 two-bedroom apartments and eight three-bedroom apartments (Virginia Place Phase II).

In 2010, the Virginia Place Board asked the Hope Center, Inc. to take over the management of the program and its facilities. During this time, the name, Virginia Place, was changed to One Parent Scholar House to better reflect its purpose.


A Legacy of Empowering Single Parents: Alberta Coleman and Helen Burg

Alberta Coleman 1

Alberta Coleman Courtesy of Lexington Herald-Leader

A longtime advocate for the poor, Alberta Coleman was the first executive director of what would eventually become One Parent Scholar House. In 1982, Coleman and Rita Story, a fellow advocate, went to then-mayor Scotty Baesler to discuss establishing a program that would provide transitional housing and social services to low-income, single-parent families.


Helen Burg Courtesy of David Burg

“Alberta almost camped out in [Baesler’s] office and said ‘You will do this. We will have this facility,’” says Jane Graham, a friend of Coleman’s. Eventually, with help from city, state, and federal governments, the University of Kentucky, and other groups, the Single Parent Housing Project, later renamed Virginia Place, opened on Virginia Avenue. It was the first of its kind in the state, and only the second in the country. 

Two years after Virginia Place opened, another community advocate, Helen Burg, joined the staff. Both Helen and her husband David were often at Virginia Place, doing everything from making basic repairs to fundraising alongside Ken Kerns. During her 10-year tenure as Executive Director, Virginia Place grew from 15 to 56 single-parent families and, thanks to Mr. Kerns and Don Ball, moved to a whole new campus on Horsemans Lane, where it is now.

“That these residents were bringing up their children and trying to give them the best was something Helen really admired,” said Graham, one of Helen’s best friends. “Many women came back to Virginia Place to tell Helen that she saved their life,” says David, Helen’s husband.

After nearly 30 years, their passion for empowering single parents lives on at One Parent Scholar House. These two remarkable women turned their compassion into a program that has helped change thousands of lives.