Three Take aways from the "Hope Stroll"

On Sunday, March 30, 2014, Generation Hope held its first benefit walk, the "Hope Stroll" Indoor Walk & Family Day at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.  As a first-time event, we didn't know what to expect.  We hoped to bring together a group of people who believed in the importance of education and family for a morning of fun and exercise.  We got so much more.

The walkers "strolling" around the track!

The walkers "strolling" around the track!

A Walking Statement of Support

When we're going through a difficult time, it is easy to wonder if anyone is out there -- if anyone cares.  When I looked at the starting line that day, just as more than 200 people in attendance were about to "stroll" around the track, I thought about the statement that this made for young parents who are trying their best to create a better future for their children.  To see so many gathered together in support of their pursuit of a college degree, was a sight to see.  It's something I will never forget -- and neither will our Scholars.

We are a FAMILY

We often refer to Generation Hope as a family, and this was so evident at the "Hope Stroll."  I saw the children of our Scholars in the moon bounces with the children of our attendees.  I saw our Sponsors and volunteers dancing to the music along with our donors and supporters.  I saw vendors like Coexist Campaign and MOM's Organic Market on site, giving away samples in support of our mission and theirs.  It was a beautiful day of connections and ties -- family ties.

Tremendous Fundraising Power

We had some amazing fundraisers who helped us raise $12,000 for Generation Hope.  That's enough to sponsor 10 community college students through our program for one year!  People who reached out to their family and friends, made phone calls, promoted their fundraising pages on social media -- all in the name of making college possible for more teen parents in the D.C. metro area.  I was so proud of these champions for Generation Hope!

It was a big event for Generation Hope, and even though it's a year away, I'm excited for next year and all of the new surprises it will bring.  Thank you again to our sponsors Self Storage Zone, Venable Foundation, Inc., and Elizabeth Link and to everyone who supported!

- Nicole 
Founder & CEO

"Pep Rally Under the Stars" filled our Bleachers!

On Friday, June 28, 2013, Generation Hope hosted its second annual gala "Pep Rally Under the Stars," and it was a major success!  The event raised more than $40,000 to fund our vital work over the next year, included a heartfelt message from Academy Award Nominated Actress Taraji P. Henson, and was a ton of fun for all!  

While I'm not the sports expert, I chose to make an analogy to sports in my remarks that night.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say, and my daughter's experience playing basketball for the past 7 years came to mind.  I told the audience that sports is indeed an analogy for life.  "Our community is a team, and we cannot win over poverty, homelessness, and hunger, unless we care about every player on the court."  It is so important for every player to look over their shoulder and see someone in the bleachers rooting for them.  In this case, our Scholars need to know that someone is there, believing that they can earn their college degree.

That night, nearly 200 people at our gala "filled the bleachers."  For that, we truly thank you.


- Nicole


Whole Foods Foggy Bottom 5% Day to Benefit GH!

I don't think anyone needs an excuse to shop at Whole Foods (let's be honest, the food is amazing!), but we have one for you: On Wednesday, January 16th, Whole Foods Foggy Bottom will donate 5% of their sales to Generation Hope!  

If you're in the D.C. area on Wednesday, we invite you to swing by, say hello, and make a purchase to show your support!  Generation Hope's table will be right by the store entrance so we can greet customers and tell them about our mission!

Oh, and we'll be live tweeting, posting pics to Facebook, and holding raffles for Generation Hope t-shirts and greeting cards throughout the day.  Don't miss the fun!

- Nicole

Fun at "Night at the Museum"

An attendee talks to Emerita about her experience in the Scholar ProgramOn Wednesday, September 12th, Generation Hope hosted "Night at the Museum" at the Alexandria Black History Museum in Old Town Alexandria, Va.  It was a night of learning about the city's rich history and about the impact that Generation Hope is making on the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

Two Northern Virginia Scholars, Emerita Ayala who attending Northern Virginia Community College and Alyssa Bullock who attends Howard University, spoke about what it's like to be a parenting student and how Generation Hope is helping.

"After high school, it was like my support system was gone," said Emerita, who is raising a son and wants to go into law enforcement.  "Then Generation Hope came along, and they really believe in you."

Alyssa, who is raising a son as well and plans to be a computer engineer, shared Emerita's feelings about the organization.  "Everyone at Generation Hope is so positive."  

Audrey Davis, the Executive Director of the Museum, also talked about her belief in Generation Hope's mission which is why she wanted to donate the space for the event.

"Night at the Museum" raised more than $1,000 for the Scholar Program and allowed current and potential donors to hear directly from Generation Hope Scholars about how this program is impacting lives and families.

"My son will go to college.  He doesn't have a choice," Emerita said.

To find out about upcoming events, click here.  To see more photos of "Night at the Museum," click here.

Not Just Another Gala

Generation Hope Founder & CEO, Nicole Lynn Lewis, with her fellow William & Mary alumni who were in attendanceOn Friday, June 29th, Generation Hope held its first gala "Pep Rally Under the Stars" at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, and it was a blast.  While it raised more than $10,000 for the Generation Hope Scholar Program, which will be used for 2012 Scholar tuition assistance and the expenses for oversight of the program, it was more than a fundraiser. 

The night was about celebrating the "triumph  of the human spirit" -- beating the odds and overcoming the impossible.  Attendees celebrated the first year of services for a brand new organization, the first Scholar to graduate from college, Jennifer Ramirez, and the addition of six new Scholars for the coming year.  On any given day in D.C., there is bound to be a fundraiser or gala, but this one was different. 

"It's amazing what this organization has accomplished in just one year," said MC for the night and WHUR 96.3 radio personality Triscina Grey.

Jennifer Ramirez, who was the Scholar Speaker for the evening, attested to the difference Generation Hope has made in her life, "I wouldn't be where I am today without Generation Hope."

Attendees arriving at the galaGeneration Hope's Founder & CEO was ecstatic about the success of the evening and shared some of the metrics that are coming to light as the organization wraps up its first year, "In terms of results.  We presented some metrics to our board of directors earlier this month, and I can share one with you that we're really proud of.  The majority -- 70% in fact -- of our 2011 Scholars increased their GPA after just one semester in our program.  So that's indicative of the impact we're making."

The event also energized attendees to become more involved through helping with next year's gala or volunteering throughout the year

For information on next year's gala, please sign up for our email list.  We hope you'll be there to show your spirit!

- Gala Committee