Blog

Welcome Fall Interns!

We’re so excited to welcome Bond Bordelon, Geneva McDaniels, and Nichole Osugi. Learn more about them in their own words, below.

Bond Bordelon - Program Intern

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Hi everyone! My name is Bond Bordelon and I am the new Program Intern for the Fall! I am a recent graduate from The George Washington University and hope to go to nursing school in the near future! I’m originally from New Orleans and love living in DC, but definitely miss the food back home. I have a deep passion for healthcare and the holistic betterment of children’s lives, so I am extremely excited to work with an organization like Generation Hope! Just from being at Generation Hope a short time already, I can see how wonderful and instrumental this organization is. I’m thankful I get the opportunity to work with such an inspiring, kind group of people, and I can’t wait for the rest of the Fall!

Geneva McDaniels - Mental Health Intern

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Hello everyone! My name is Geneva McDaniels, and I am delighted to be a Mental Health Intern with Generation Hope this fall. I’m a native Washingtonian and love my city! I am a student at Trinity Washington University completing my senior year in Health Services Administration. I aspire to become a labor and delivery nurse. My work experience is in maternal and infant health, as a Lactation Coach and family support worker. I’m passionate about maternal, infant and child health. I look forward to creating my very own birthing center in the future, with supportive services to provide families with better outcomes. Addressing social injustices and ensuring our scholars are fully supported here at Generation Hope is truly where the process begins and I’m thankful for the opportunity. 

Nichole Osugi - Volunteer & Outreach Intern

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Hi everyone! My name is Nichole Osugi and I am very excited to work at Generation Hope this fall as the Volunteer and Outreach intern. I graduated last year from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California with a degree in Health and Human Sciences. Currently, I am pursuing my Master of Public Health at The George Washington University and will be graduating next May. I recently interned at FRESHFARM FoodPrints, where I taught elementary-school students about healthy eating and environmental sustainability. At FRESHFARM FoodPrints, I worked with both parents and their children, and I really got to understand the important work that nonprofits do to promote social justice and overall well-being for both individuals and their community. Now, I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to be at Generation Hope and am excited to learn more about the nonprofit world, especially as I continue my journey in the public health sector. In my free time, you can find me exploring all that DC has to offer, as well as  spending time with my family, friends, and of course, my two dogs!

Announcing Our Mini Generation Hope Podcast!

At Generation Hope, our Scholars’ stories and experiences drive everything we do. And so we were thrilled when one of our amazing summer interns, Mariana Erana Salmeron (William & Mary, Class of 2021), had the idea of developing a series of podcasts where she would talk with Scholars about their experience with Generation Hope, their academic journey, parenthood — and life in general.

Generation Hope’s summer internships are designed to ensure a robust professional experience, while also providing an opportunity for our interns to explore how they might pursue their personal and academic passions in a career. To this end, each intern works with their manager to determine a substantive project to cap off their time with Generation Hope.

Mariana has long been interested in podcasts, and through creating this mini summer series for Generation Hope, she learned not only about the audio production and editing processes, but also the power of giving people the microphone to tell their own stories.

In these podcasts, Scholars Joseph, Elba, and Syeedah, describe some of the obstacles teen parents face — from mental health challenges to navigating a college environment that isn’t designed for young parents. We also hear about their tenacity and drive to keep going, in order to earn their degree and open new doors for their children and their families. The podcast series also has the distinction of being bilingual, since Mariana hails from Mexico, and was able to interview Elba in Spanish!

We hope our Scholars’ stories inspire you to join us in surrounding motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten. We’ll be launching a new episode each Monday for the next two weeks, and we hope you’ll tune in and help spread the word! Happy listening.

Intern Mariana providing childcare support at Generation Hope’s Summer Bridge program in July

How to Make the College Dream Possible

Amidst the celebration and ceremony of graduation season, it is easy to overlook the young people who made it to the graduation stage against seemingly insurmountable odds, and to forget about those who will not be graduating because the odds were stacked so highly against them.

Fewer than 2% of teen mothers nationally who have a child before age 18 go on to complete college before age 30. This means that the vast majority are likely to be living in poverty along with their children. The teen pregnancy rate in DC exceeds the national average, and children of teen parents face systemic barriers to their early growth and development. Many lack stable housing and adequate healthcare. In fact, nearly half of DC's homeless youth are parents under age 24 living on the streets with their children due to a lack of education. Even with national teen pregnancy rates on the decline, teen pregnancy is still a major issue in certain communities and the consequences of teen pregnancies that happened decades ago are still being felt today. We have seen recent coverage about this in NPR and The Atlantic.

When teen parents earn college degrees, their children benefit and the overall health and vitality of our communities are greatly improved. The reality is that education is the great leveler -- creating opportunity and opening doors that would never have been opened. For a population that has long been left out of the higher education system, a degree is game changing -- not only for the parent but also for the child. Quality early childhood supports can predict academic and career success well into their future. This is one way to dismantle poverty -- to provide college completion support and early childhood services for two populations that are dismissed regarding their potential and dreams. This support will increase the likelihood that an entire young family will move out of poverty.

As a former teen mother myself, I know firsthand the struggle of being a young parent and how the increase in salary that a college degree brings can change the fate of a young family. While working with teen parents at Generation Hope, I have seen the grit and determination that so many young people have to create better lives for their children. Research shows that parenting college students have higher GPA’s than their peers even though they are more stretched for time than their peers with courses, working, and raising children. Of the Scholars who were supported by Generation Hope, 92% of them are employed full time and/or enrolled in a graduate studies program within six months of graduating, paving the way for self-sufficiency and a bright future for themselves and their family.

What can we do as a community to support the success of teen parents? Financial support is part of the solution, but there are so many other ways to contribute time, resources, and talents.

  • Mentoring. Teenage parents need what we all need—not only financial means, but the support of someone who cares and believes in their vision for their future. In fact, 87% of Generation Hope Scholars reported that when they felt overwhelmed, they were more likely to continue with college because of their relationship with their mentor. Young people need to see themselves in successful people who care about them.

  • Expanding social capital. For many of us, our networks provide valuable connections to jobs, internships, and other opportunities for success. Teen parents need help with networking, and getting connected to people and resources that may not currently exist in their circles. They need to connect with other teen parents at conferences and workshops and see former teen parents who are now leading productive lives.

  • Building valuable skill sets. Members of the community can help with mock interviews, networking, resume reviewing, and trainings on topics that include job searching, effective interview techniques, parenting, self care, and more.

  • Empowering children of teen parents. Because children of teen parents often score lower on measures of kindergarten readiness and have lower vocabulary, math, and reading scores, we need to design programs and provide resources that prepare them to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

  • Collaborating. As we implement these important strategies, it is important to realize that no one organization or person has the answers or can do this work on their own. At Generation Hope, we are fortunate to be a part of several collaborations.  A great example is the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, supported by the Scheidel Foundation and the Crimsonbridge Foundation. The Initiative brings together organizations that offer individualized support to help young people access, complete, and thrive in college. By sharing resources and lessons learned, we are not only providing a service or creating a community but also building a movement.

Investing in these young families today will have an impact on them and our communities for generations to come. I hope the joys of this graduation season will inspire us to make a college degree possible for all students who dream of walking across the graduation stage.