Determination: Conway single mom works four jobs to provide for son

Story and photos
by Callie Sterling

Kathy Hancock Kelly, a 47-year-old single mom, recently received her second college degree and currently works four part-time jobs to provide for her teenage son.

“I just do what I have to do in order to survive and take care of my son,” Kelly said. “He is everything to me.”

Kathy’s oldest son, Kelly, passed away in a car accident in 2007. Kelly changed her last name to Kelly in honor of her son.

“When my oldest son passed away, I am not sure I would have stayed in Conway if it wasn’t for my youngest son,” Kathy said. “I really stayed here because of him. I am not sure I would have gotten through it like I did if it wasn’t for my youngest.”

Kathy is full of energy and enjoys staying active. Her four part-time jobs include working for UPS, substitute teaching for the Conway School District, certified athletic training and being a freelance journalist.

“At UPS, I cover drive and pre-load,” she said. “It is very fast paced. I am also a certified trainer through the American Council on Exercise and have been for seven years. I regularly train three people.”

Kathy received her first bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Central Arkansas in 1993. She returned back to school to further her education and study journalism. She recently attended UCA again for her bachelor of science in communication, which she completed in 2014. She completed her degree while raising her son and working.

Kathy and her youngest son, Kerry Kelly, are very close and have a great relationship.

“I am very close with my mom, and she is not like a regular mom,” Kerry said.

They both enjoy exercising, specifically running. Kerry runs track and plays soccer. Kathy has run several half and full marathons.

“We have always been a very tight-knit family,” Kathy said. “I was also very close to Kelly. He was truly my best friend. I miss him everyday but in many ways he still plays a large role in our lives and in our family.”

When Kathy is not working, exercising or spending time with her son, she is fostering puppies.

“I have been fostering for two years now,” Kathy said. “My journalism professor at UCA, Donna Stephens, got me started with fostering. I just love to foster because it helps save these dogs. I get to see them come from being abandoned to their forever home, it is amazing!”

Kathy also receives help from her son with the foster dogs.

“I could not foster without Kerry’s help,” Kathy said. “He really helps out a lot with them. I also think it is good for Kerry because he is learning more responsibility because he is caring for another life.”

She intends to keep fostering and is currently fostering her 27th dog.

Kathy is proof that hard work, determination and faith can get you through anything.