RSU Community Supports “S.M.I.L.E.” Angel Tree and Local Nursing Home

Members of the Rogers State University community supported a very deserving segment of the school’s student body this holiday season with contributions to the Single Mothers Inspiring Lifelong Education (S.M.I.L.E.) angel tree. The initiative, led by RSU Student Engagement Specialist Kayla Conkling, supported 29 children of single-parent students. 

“My mother was a single mom attending college trying to support two daughters. I saw how difficult it was for her and, now being a single mom myself, I know how hard it can be to give your children the Christmas you think they deserve,” said Conkling. “I wanted to do this angel tree because these kids deserve the best Christmas possible.” 

This inaugural event is anticipated to continue for years to come. The S.M.I.L.E. program is managed through the Student Affairs office with grant support through the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma. The program provides access to on-campus and off-campus resources and support for single mothers who are furthering their education at RSU.

Another campus-wide initiative, Hillcats Helping Out, focused on serving the residents of the Memory Care Center in Claremore. Students provided gifts gathered through an on-campus donation drive to nursing home residents. The gifts were delivered during a holiday party hosted at the nursing home by members of the President’s Leadership Class.

“Hillcats Helping Out is a service project that each semester has a focus,” said President’s Leadership Class President Memory Merriman. “This semester the focus was the Memory Care Center. It was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. My hope is that Hillcats Helping Out will become a tradition at RSU.”  

For additional information regarding S.M.I.L.E. services, visit or call 918-343-7579.

For additional information regarding the President’s Leadership Class, visit

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