Trasi Watson is a Generation Hope Sponsor. She wrote this article for our Spring 2014 newsletter.
My commitment to Generation Hope is directly related to my experiences as a teen mom. I was 14 years old when my first son came into the world. I promised the doctor that I would not become a statistic by returning to his office in two years. Two-and-a-half years later, my second son joined our single family. I felt all of society’s shame directed towards me, along with pity for my children.
My family committed their lives to helping me through high school and later college. By the time my first born was 10 years old, I was graduating from college, and then two years later, I earned my graduate degree. College changed everything for me and my sons—both of whom are now in their 20’s, attended college, and broke the cycle of teen pregnancy in our family. I am so proud of them.
One of my friends shared Generation Hope with me when the organization was in its first year. I had been searching for more than 10 years for a program to get involved with that aligned with what I personally knew worked: college access and degree attainment, a sense of hope, and a community of positive support. Generation Hope is a program driven by unlimited possibilities and not shame. It was the perfect match.
From day one, I was naturally excited and a little nervous to meet my Scholar, not knowing what type of support she my want from me and our relationship. I had no personal agenda. I just wanted to support her in whatever way she needed. Generation Hope prepared us well for our first meeting. We started spending time together talking about school, texting, learning about each other’s families, and attending Generation Hope events together. Soon we realized we are a perfect match! Naraya is very inspiring, and she warms my heart. She makes me laugh and makes me think. She is so talented and creative. And, as an added bonus, our three-year-old sons love playing together.
It is amazing to be a part of a positive support system for a young mother who is determined to succeed. I love to watch Naraya’s patience with her son, her kind relationship with her husband, her passion for her future, and her dedication to her parents’ memory. I don’t take my role in her life lightly. I know that with the support of the Generation Hope family, she is more likely to attain her goals and dreams.
It is a privilege to be a part of Generation Hope. I am honored to be a Sponsor, and I am even more thankful for my relationship with Naraya.