Blog

Meet our new Program Coordinator, Jamila!

As a Marymount University graduate and an alumni of the Generation Hope program, I understand the importance of educational attainment to create a better future for our children.

At the age of nineteen and a sophomore in college, I found myself pregnant and unemployed. I remember hiding my pregnancy from family and being so ashamed. Becoming pregnant and dropping out of college was a trend in my family. Finding out I was pregnant while in college was a disappointment because I knew the assumption for me to drop out of class would now be put on me.

After telling my family, I knew I needed to make some changes in order for me to raise my precious bundle of joy, and continue college. I moved back home and completed my last two semesters from Savannah College of Art and Design online. I applied for multiple jobs a day while simultaneously completing assignments, quizzes, and tests. I also meet with local school counselors that had my program of study.

After having my daughter Skye in April of 2012, I landed a job in the government part-time and was able to transfer my college credits to Marymount University in Arlington,Va. I studied day in and day out while feeding, bathing, and changing my daughter. It was stressful and exhausting, but rewarding to know that my child would have a better future when I received my degree.

I became a scholar of the Generation Hope program beginning my senior year of college. Generation Hope has provided me with an abundance of motivation, love and support. I was also inspired and moved to learn the stories of other scholars. Each scholar had a different story; some subtle and some harsh. What they all had in common, however, was the drive to succeed. Everyone supports everyone!  

After graduating with a B.A. in Fashion Merchandising in May 2015, I became passionate about giving back to Generation Hope and am excited to be their new Program Coordinator! I am looking forward to helping other expectant teen parents rewrite their story.

 

Jamila and her cute little munchkin :)

Jamila and her cute little munchkin :)

Welcome Kadiata Toumbou, our summer intern!

Hi! My name is Kadiata Toumbou and I am Generation Hope’s Summer Program Intern! I am from Washington, DC and am currently attending Grinnell College studying Biological Chemistry with an interest in Education policy.

I know many languages including French, English, Pular, Woolf and am currently learning Arabic. I would love to become a world traveler, because I love learning about and immersing myself in new cultures. When I was in elementary school I lived in Amman, Jordan for about 2 years. After college, I hope to get my masters in public health then join the peace corps, and continue my studies on to medical school. I’ve seen the importance of education in society, and the impact that it can have in people’s lives. Education is the key that opens the door of opportunity in our society. I am excited to work with Generation Hope who is fighting and supporting groups that are typically overlooked in our society. Generation Hope is a life-changing organization that empowers and inspires hope in people around them. I am excited to be apart of that change and work alongside an inspiring group of people. I am thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of this amazing organization during the summer. 

Summer Intern Kadiata having fun while helping us get ready for our gala on 6/24 :)

Summer Intern Kadiata having fun while helping us get ready for our gala on 6/24 :)

Senior Spotlight: Liliana Aquino

This week we sat down with Scholar Liliana who graduated from Marymount University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice! Currently working in the courts system, Lilly is excited about all things criminal justice and is looking forward to what the future holds for her and her son, Luis. Read more about Lilly's journey and how she made it to and through college. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m currently working in my field, in the court system and when I grow up I want to work for a government agency. I like several things involving criminal justice. 

What are your life goals?

Just to do something I love, work doing something I love while being able to provide for my son. Ensure that he has everything he needs. Have a house, have my son and be self-sufficient.

Why do you love Generation Hope?

I love Generation Hope because I love my sponsor, Karrie McMillan, she’s great and she’s amazing. Anytime I need advice or suggestions she is there and gives me great advice. She helps me think through problems. I can tell her anything and she and my son care about each other so much. He jumps into her arms when he sees her and he is so happy and excited when we meet up with her. Generation Hope is a family and has your best interest at heart.

How did Generation Hope help you reach your goal of graduating college?


They provided me with a lot of workshops, and things that go beyond the classroom. Financial support and training's to help improve my parenting skills. The additional support has helped my grades increase every semester I’ve been in the program.

What motivates you?

My son. I really hope that he takes my example and sees education is extremely important. Education didn’t just teach me what’s in a textbook, it taught me about myself and taught me to come out of my shell.

What's a challenge you faced that Generation Hope helped you overcome?


Time management. Workshops on time management really helped me overcome this. I sat down and thought through how I organize my time.

Your favorite quote and why it's your favorite quote

“God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers”.  My mom was devastated when we found out I was pregnant and thought we’d never come back from that. I just graduated college and it was a big dream of hers. If I hadn’t had my son, Luis, I wouldn’t have graduated. We have to overcome the struggles to succeed in life. Before Luis I never pictured myself in college and after I just knew I had to go to school, there was no question.

Meet Liliana and the rest of our Scholars at our 2016 "Pep Rally Under the Stars" on June 24th. For more information CLICK HERE. Join us and help us help other teen parents like Liliana realize their dreams and that they can accomplish anything when someone believes in them. If you have any questions about our gala, please contact Development and Events Manager, Jesseca Myers at jesseca@supportgenerationhope.org.

Senior Spotlight: Alyssa Bullock

Scholar Alyssa with her son at Howard University's graduation ceremony last week! #19degreesandcounting #ghworks

Scholar Alyssa with her son at Howard University's graduation ceremony last week! #19degreesandcounting #ghworks

We sat down with Generation Hope Scholar, Alyssa Bullock, who recently graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science! Read about how Generation Hope helped Alyssa realize her worth. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I've always had a thing for math and computers but going into college I originally planned to be a software engineer, which most likely will end up being my job now that I've graduated. Along the journey I developed an interest in cyber security, networking, and cryptography and the classes at Howard were more geared toward software engineering but I took EVERY class available in those areas and I want to learn more. I want to be an analyst, ethical hacker, intrusion detector or basically anything in the cyber security field.

What are your life goals?
To make a living doing a job I'm truly happy doing while fully supporting myself and my son with the stability to be able to give back and help out my mom and brother. (Single moms have to stick together and my brother might need some help getting to Harvard!)  There are also plans of hopefully getting a master’s degree in cyber security from Johns Hopkins but that will come when it's time.

What motivates you?
My family (Generation Hope included).

What's a challenge you faced that Generation Hope helped you overcome?
Accepting my life choices and being able to believe that it was still worth it to have dreams and goals.

Tell me a little bit about the relationship with your Generation Hope Sponsor…
She's crazy, but she balances me out. I'm quiet and reserved, she's loud and expressive. She's like my second mom. She knows what's going on in my life, and she weighs in. Every time we meet, if I don't have Darren we sit for hours and just talk about everything that's happened in our lives since the last time we met.

Why do you love Generation Hope?
It's a family that keeps growing bigger and crazier but equally more loving every year.

Meet Alyssa and the rest of our Scholars at our 2016 "Pep Rally Under the Stars" on June 24th. For more information CLICK HERE. Join us and help us help other teen parents like Alyssa realize their dreams and that they can accomplish anything when someone believes in them. If you have any questions about our gala, please contact Development and Events Manager, Jesseca Myers at jesseca@supportgenerationhope.org.

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!