At the heart of Generation Hope’s giving model is the belief that a person can accomplish anything when someone believes in them.
That’s why we pair ambitious, family-focused teen parents striving to complete their college education with caring, committed, adult mentors and an emotional and financial support system, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. While the financial support Generation Hope provides to Scholars is important (this semester alone Generation Hope has supplied $48,600 in tuition assistance to Scholars attending college in the metro DC area), it’s the mentoring that keeps our young parents going when they’re juggling parenthood, finals, and work. Freshman Scholar, Jarmonay Nelson, and her Sponsor (mentor), Melissa Green Parker, sat down to chat with us about their relationship and what Generation Hope means to them.
Scholar Jarmonay was excited when she was accepted into the Scholar Program: “I was really surprised! I just feel like it’s more than just the scholarship itself. The scholarship is the last thing I would put on the list of what I love about you guys because I just think the whole program is worth more.” Jarmonay is in her first semester at Howard Community College and wants to be a human resource manager. Her relationship with Sponsor Melissa is “…going really well! We have busy schedules but we talk every week and we talk about our goals, plans for the future, daycare, our sons and she just motivates me to know what I want to do.” If she had to use one word to describe Generation Hope Jarmonay says it would be empowerment: “You guys motivate me to want to do everything. The coaches, the mentors- everyone is just empowering. Even when we meet with each other, everyone is motivating each other,” and in the future, Jarmonay wants “…to be able to give back. I want to be able to do what they’ve done for me.”Sponsor Melissa is equally excited about Generation Hope, telling us, “I was just really impressed by the mission, you know, there aren’t other organizations that support teenage parents and encourage them to go forth and get their education. Everything is geared toward prevention, so I was really excited about that.” Melissa believes in giving back and passing that belief along to her young son, Andre. Generation Hope is family-focused and provides child-care at all of our programming events. Melissa loves that she can bring her son along to volunteer and that “…he is always welcome.” Volunteers do not have to choose between volunteering and their family, since it’s a family affair and Melissa loves that that feeling “…trickles all the way down to the volunteers.” And when it comes to her relationship with her Scholar, Jarmonay, Melissa said she’s “…having a ball seeing what her experience is as a first time mom” and that she “just tries to listen and enjoy the moment with her.” “Parents don’t always get it, friends don’t always get it. I just strive to be that person who understands what she’s going through,” Melissa says. She reassures Jarmonay that challenges will arise but that those challenges will pass and emphasizes self-care as “it is so easy to put yourself on the backburner with some much going on.” Melissa (and Jarmonay!) are looking forward to their relationship growing stronger, and so are we! We can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things Jarmonay will accomplish, with Melissa cheering her on!