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Generation Hope

Our Work│Generation Hope reduces poverty one family at a time by providing direct sponsorships, one-on-one mentoring, and case management to teen parents who are pursuing college degrees in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  We are a one-of-a-kind, innovative program focused on college completion for a population that is dismissed regarding their potential and dreams for the future.  Our mission is to empower ambitious, family-focused teen parents striving to complete their college education by pairing them with caring, committed, adult mentors and an emotional and financial support system, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. This year, 87 low-income teen mothers and fathers living in Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, the City of Alexandria, Loudon County, and Fairfax County between the ages of 17 and 25 comprise our Scholar cohort.  Our Scholars are attending 18 different colleges across the D.C. metro region, including Northern Virginia Community College, Trinity Washington University, and Montgomery College.  In July 2017, we will welcome our seventh class of Scholars into the program, bringing our total to 100.  We also provide college-readiness workshops to more than 300 expecting and parenting high school students throughout the region annually.  We are incorporated in Washington, D.C. and serve the entire D.C. Metro Area.

Our History│Generation Hope was founded in March 2010 by a former teen mother who put herself through college and saw her life transformed by earning a post-secondary education.  Statistics, such as “less than 2% of women who have a child before the age of 18 will complete college before the age of 30,” fueled her desire to start an organization that would provide teen parents with the emotional and financial resources they need to obtain a higher education (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2010).  The organization was fully incorporated in November 2010 and received its 501(c)3 status in May 2011.  We welcomed our first class of Scholars in August 2011.

Recent Accomplishments│Generation Hope’s ultimate measure of success is the number of teen parents in our program that graduate from college each year.  We are pleased to report that last year we celebrated 11 teen parent graduates (five teen mothers who graduated with bachelor’s degrees and six who graduated with associate’s degrees -- five of whom are transferring to four-year colleges) thanks to the financial and mentoring support that they received from Generation Hope.  At the end of the spring 2016 semester, 74% of our Scholars earned GPAs of 2.5 or above, evidence of the powerful mentoring relationships that our program creates. Despite the difficulties that our students face as parenting college students, we have a 92% retention rate.  Lastly, we have provided more than $170,000 in tuition support to teen parents to date.

Current Program and Activities│The Generation Hope Scholar Program comprises the bulk of the organization’s activities and is the basis of its work.  Recognizing that emotional and financial support pose the two most significant obstacles to teen parents’ educational achievement, each Scholar is matched with a Sponsor who provides up to $2,400 per year in tuition support as well as one-on-one mentoring until that Scholar earns their college degree.  The five major services offered to teen parents through the Generation Hope Scholar Program are:  1) matching with an organization/individual that will provide financial and mentoring support; 2) facilitating sponsorships to ease tuition costs; 3) identifying needed services; 4) hosting the annual Hope Conference; and 5) providing ongoing case management.  In addition to assisting current college students, Generation Hope also raises awareness among younger teen parents that college is indeed an option through college-readiness workshops and our Hope Conference.  Lastly, our Emergency Fund allows us to assist Scholars through crisis situations.  We base Scholar/Sponsor matches on five proven criteria; provide initial mentoring training; check in on Scholars and Sponsors monthly; organize field trips; and conduct personal/academic/professional workshops.  

Issue Being Addressed│In the D.C. metro area, teen pregnancy plays a major part in the current state of families and communities.  The D.C. teen pregnancy rate is more than double the U.S. rate, and many of these young parents are not graduating from high school and even fewer from college (Kost, K., Henshaw, S., & Carlin, L., 2010).  The impact of low educational attainment on a young parent and their child is significant.  On average, individuals who do not have a bachelor’s degree earn $26,000 less annually than college graduates (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).  Low wages can result in difficulty providing for a child, living in stable housing, and providing adequate healthcare.  In fact, nearly half of D.C.’s homeless youth are parents under age 24 living on the streets with their children due to a lack of education (DCAYA, 2012).  

Intended Outcomes│Generation Hope’s board of directors has determined a path for growth across three metrics for three years (FY16 – FY18), including number of Scholars served, staff to support Scholar growth, and budget to support Scholar growth. Objectives for this timeframe include 1) increased number of teen parent college graduates; 2) academic excellence in post-secondary institutions; 3) increased professional and life skills; 4) increased graduate school and post-college career placement for teen parents; and 5) decreased repercussions of low educational attainment for teen parents.  It costs Generation Hope approximately $6,000 per year to support a teen parent in college.  Research shows that by getting a four-year degree, they will earn $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than their peers without a college degree (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2015).

Generation Hope’s Financial Strength and Sustainability│In May 2014, Generation Hope was named “one of the best” nonprofits in the D.C. area by the Catalogue for Philanthropy after a rigorous review of our fiscal strength and programmatic impact. Long-term strategies for sustaining our work include strengthening corporate relationships; obtaining local government support; and increasing major gifts.  Generation Hope hosted its 3rd annual benefit walk in March 2016, raising $33,000, and our June 2016 gala raised more than $143,000.