Since its launch in 2010, Washington D.C.’s Generation Hope has helped over 100 student parents finish their degrees and expand their economic mobility. For more than a decade, mothers have relied on the organization’s resources to divert their trajectory from statistics to success stories. And last week the transformational non-profit announced that it would be taking its thriving model to a second city.
New Orleans, Louisiana will be the newest location for Generation Hope's Scholar Program, which is designed to surround young parents with mentoring, tuition assistance, and other vital resources to aid them in earning their college degrees. The class will kick off in the summer of 2023 with help from local universities, organizations, and advocates to bolster student-parent work in the area.
Despite teen pregnancy remaining on the decline, according to the CDC, Louisiana has one of the highest rates of teen births in the United States, with just Arkansas and Mississippi preceding it. It’s part of the reason Generation Hope founder and CEO Nicole Lynn Lewis says she is thrilled to be expanding into the Crescent City.
“When I founded Generation Hope over a decade ago, my hope was to help young parents reach the other side of the upward battle to a college degree by giving them the resources and village of support they deserve,” says Lewis. “Our goal has consistently been to deliver impactful, holistic programming to young parents that work to alleviate the myriad of struggles they face.”
Lewis says that in the past 12 years, the organization has been able to deliver on that while also building an ecosystem of scholars, dedicated partners, and advocates who are working together toward the same goal. Some of that was captured in a 2022 report published by the organization.
“Higher Together: The Impact of a College Degree for Young Parents,” highlights how impactful a college degree can be in creating better economic outcomes for young families. The report surveyed alumni of the program and found that teen parents who worked toward degrees more than doubled their average annual earnings after degree completion. Nearly one-third of graduates proceeded to advanced degrees.
Multiple studies have underscored the need to break cycles of generational poverty by positioning teen moms for success. Generation Hope plans to do exactly that in New Orleans. Currently, 23 percent of all undergraduate students in the city are parenting. The New Orleans Scholar Program is an opportunity to extend the success Generation Hope has garnered in the D.C. metro area and deliver targeted programming to help young families succeed and experience economic mobility.
“Generation Hope could not come to New Orleans at a more critical time,” says Rhonda Broussard, CEO and founder of Beloved Community, a NOLA-based non-profit committed to building an ecosystem for equitable, inclusive schools, neighborhoods and workplaces. “Their model will increase educational attainment and economic mobility for young parents and their children for years to come. I’m encouraged to see how this will improve outcomes for our entire city."