My Birthday Wish

Six years ago this month, I embarked on a life-changing journey to start Generation Hope.   People told me how much work it would be and the challenges of getting a nonprofit up and running, but no one could have prepared me for how rewarding it has truly been.   

Nicole and her daughter, Nerissa, while Nicole attended the College of William & Mary as a teen mother

Nicole and her daughter, Nerissa, while Nicole attended the College of William & Mary as a teen mother

Generation Hope has grown from supporting seven teen mothers in college in 2011 with the mentoring, tuition support, and case management that they needed to thrive to now  serving 65 teen mothers and fathers across the region.  Eight teen mothers have earned bachelor's degrees through our program, and 12 more will graduate this May.  And there is more growth on the horizon.  We are now recruiting our sixth Scholar class, bringing the number of Scholars in our program to 80-85.  

I've met amazing young parents and inspiring supporters along the way.  

March is also my birthday month.  On Saturday, I'll be 36 years old, and my birthday wish is that we would receive enough gifts in honor of my birthday to send 36 of our Scholars (our newest class of students) to our annual gala, "Pep Rally Under the Stars", on June 24th.   "Pep Rally Under the Stars" is an evening of inspiration and celebration that communicates to our students that a room full of people believe in their potential.  And there is no limit to what we can do when someone simply believes in us.

Tickets to the gala are $135, but a gift of any amount will help us reach this goal.  If you can find a way to make a donation today, it will change a young parent's life -- and their child's life.

Thank you so much and happy spring!

Why Our Backpack Is So Important

Right now, we're working on our fall newsletter that will be mailed to everyone on our mailing list next month.  One of the articles is by Maggie Riden, Executive Director of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA).  I asked Maggie to share information on a survey DCAYA did on the city's homeless youth.  The findings will shock you.  Nearly 50% of DC homeless youth are young parents under the age of 24.  They're living on the streets or couch hopping with their small children.  One of the most significant causes for their being homeless?  Lack of education. 

This month, Generation Hope is holding our "Fill Our Backpack With Hope" campaign, which has a goal of raising $5,000 to spread the message that college is possible to 150 expecting or parenting high school students this year.  We custom design our college-readiness workshops for teen parents, and we go into schools, churches, homeless shelters, local agencies -- anywhere we can -- to give teen parents hope for college.  

And it works.  23% of our current Scholars were encouraged to go to college and to apply to our program through one of our workshops.

Your gift of $50 will have a major impact on our community.  It will create change where we need it most.  It will help to get young families off of the streets and on their way to lasting success.  Please make a donation today. 

Thank you.

 - Nicole


"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


Reaching Howard County, Md. Teen Parents

The more funding we receive, the more teen parents we can help to graduate from college.  It’s really that simple.  So, we’re pleased to announce that the The Columbia Foundation has granted Generation Hope a Mini Grant of $750 to assist with the expenses of recruiting teen mothers and teen fathers who want a degree and are living in Howard County, Maryland. 

Sandra, a Howard County Generation Hope ScholarSandra, one of our 2012 Scholars, is a Howard County resident and is studying nursing at Howard Community College.  She is the first in her family to attend college and is also the mother of a one-year-old.  Like all of our Scholars, she faces many challenges as she works towards her goals, but we’re walking by her side in this journey.  She’s receiving $1,200 a year toward her tuition, and she’s been paired with Jeananne, a caring Howard County resident who is providing the emotional support that she needs.

There are many more young parents like Sandra in Howard County who want to become college graduates.  We now have some funding to specifically reach them and to bring them into the Generation Hope family.  For that, we’re truly thankful.

For more information on The Columbia Foundation and their work in the community, please click here.

- Nicole

The Adair Group Makes New T-Shirts Possible

A couple of weeks ago, we received a shipment of brand new t-shirts donated by The Adair Group, which we'll give to each new Scholar in our program, their little ones, and their Sponsors.  We'll also sell them to anyone who wants to wear the Generation Hope logo proudly!

This donation helped us save hundreds of dollars in t-shirt costs, and we're so thankful to them for their generosity.  The Adair Group and other generous donors allow us to deliver our mission each and every day by alleviating our costs through giving.  

Thank you!

- Nicole