In a message to the White House email list last month, the first lady asked Americans to make a local commitment to help at least one young person make his or her way into higher education. Generation Hope is answering Ms. Obama’s call to action:
Generation Hope is making college a reality for young people whom we often dismiss from the college conversation -- teen parents.
Generation Hope (supportgenerationhope.org) supports teen parents who are pursuing a college degree. The students we help are our “Scholars”: By finding funds to support them, and matching a mentor to each young parent, Generation Hope paves the way to college for young parents who have children of their own—and helps break the cycle of poverty in America.
Like Ms. Obama, we believe in the power of education. Less than 2% of teen mothers earn a college degree before age 30, and the cost to taxpayers associated with teen childbearing is $9.4 billion, according to The National Campaign. We want to break this cycle that affects so many young Americans. A college education is our weapon. And we’re making progress every day.
Since our founding in 2010, we have provided nearly $55,000 in tuition assistance, supported 26 Scholars, celebrated two college graduates, and presented college-readiness workshops to more than 275 high school students who are pregnant or parenting. With support from mentors, our Scholars do well in their academics and careers. The list of successes is many: One Scholar who recently graduated from the program and works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now working on her master’s degree. Another is a fine arts teacher at a private school.
Generation Hope can thrive only when people understand and act on the White House’s conviction that an education is the first step to changing lives. In the case of Generation Hope—the parent's, and their child’s.