In a couple of weeks, I will be back in my home in Southern California. I only wish I could stay longer in Washington D.C.! My time with Generation Hope has definitely been an exciting journey. Initially, my exposure with teen parents was limited; I had learned about the prevalence of teen pregnancy in textbooks but none of the hard facts affected me directly until I came to intern for Generation Hope.
I am probably older -- if not the same age -- as the Scholars of Generation Hope. They have inspired me to rethink my life. Growing up, I had always believed attending college was a natural stepping-stone in a person’s life and graduating from high school was never questionable. But coming to Generation Hope, I was hit with a reality; some people do not go to college, some people do not graduate from high school, and more importantly, a good chunk of these people are teen parents.
Teen parents want to have just as much an opportunity as any other teen, and they want to attend college. If anything, they want to go to college even more, because now they are not responsible for just themselves, but for their children. However, many can’t because they do not have the resources to continue their education. Generation Hope is constantly working to ensure that their Scholars attend college with a support line. In working with the staff, I have seen that their hearts are committed to cause, toiling tirelessly and ensuring the success of every event.
As a program intern, I was given opportunities to attend the Dream Dogs Scholar Workshop, Gala, Hope Conference, and the Sponsor Scholar Luncheon. I witnessed the Scholars listening intently on how to make reading fun for their kids; the Gala attendees laughing on the dance floor; the children learning how to eat healthy from the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Group, and the excitement of the new Scholars and Sponsors meeting for the first time.
I have to admit; sometimes I am emotional when I read the stories and feeback from our Scholars. They are capable of achieving success just as any college student. On top of school they have to take care of their children and work part-time and sometimes full-time jobs. But the extra weight of their responsibilities does not stop them from doing well in school. Because of our Scholars, I have a new found motivation to do well this upcoming school year.
I have received more from Generation Hope than what I have contributed to Generation Hope. I will take with me an awareness of the issues of teen pregnancy in the DC metro area, the need to encourage more teen parents to pursue higher education, and the importance of other community organizations that are also working to provide support for teen parents.
I want to thank Nicole, Caroline, Clare, and Sherry for allowing me to be the summer program intern. I couldn’t ask for a friendlier staff and they have all treated as their equal, allowing me to be express my creative ideas to help improve Generation Hope. When I go back to California, I will never forget the time I spent at Generation Hope, an organization that has enlightened me about the realities of teen parenting but has also shown an amazing solution.
-- Jenny Ho, 2013 Summer Program Intern