podcastED: Flexible spending through education savings accounts key to success for Florida family

Emily Hayes’ three children — Hope, 9, Caleb, 6 and Mercy, 4 — all attend school on a Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities..

On this episode, reimaginED senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Emily Hayes, a Florida mother of three children who benefit from the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities.

Hayes discusses how the family has been able to use the funds for many different things, supporting her children’s needs as they get older, which is one of the benefits of an education savings account.

“What I love about the scholarship is the trust that it gives the parents … you have that bond with that child, and you know what they need, and I love that trust.”


  • Hayes’ children’s strengths and unique abilities
  • How Hayes’ son, Caleb, and a special family weekend at the Elks Youth Camp, put the family on the path to education freedom
  • How the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities made it possible for this one-income family to meet each child’s individual learning needs
  • The benefits and flexibility an education savings account provides

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BY Lisa Buie

Lisa Buie is senior reporter for NextSteps. The daughter of a public school superintendent, she spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times before joining Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where she served for nearly five years as marketing and communications manager. She lives with her husband and their teenage son, who has benefited from education choice.