Wow! Since the start of this project and the MDGH program, you have allowed 60 black single parents to break the cycle of poverty, out of the 62 single parents we have helped graduate. YES YOU! You have been the secret sauce to systemic change in racial inequality. Many of our students face significant financial and logistical challenges while pursuing their degrees, and your gift helped to alleviate some of those burdens. As a result, they were able to focus on their studies and achieve their academic goals.
How does that make you feel? We hope you feel pretty darn good!
There are several reasons why your giving helps to address the effects of racial inequality that ripple throughout the United States, but we'll give you four.
You have increased access to higher education: Black single parents face significant barriers when it comes to accessing higher education, including financial, logistical, and cultural barriers. You provided financial support and resources to help overcome these barriers.
You single-handedly helped break the cycle of poverty: Many single parents in general live in poverty due to low-income wages and face financial insecurity, making it difficult to pursue higher education or provide opportunities for their children. By supporting their educational goals, YOU are helping to break the cycle of poverty and provide a pathway to financial stability for both the parent and their children.
You are creating role models and leaders: Black single parents who graduate from college become role models and leaders in their communities, inspiring others to pursue their educational and career goals, breaking down racial barriers and promoting greater equality and opportunity for all.
You are outright addressing systemic racism: Education is a key factor in addressing racial inequality, and by supporting these students, you are working towards a more just and equitable society for all.
Did you think your gift could do all of that? We hope that you are encouraged, but wait there's more to your impact!
We want to emphasize the dual impact that your support has on the children of these single parents. Almost 50% of them are the first in their families to graduate from college, and your support helps to break the cycle of poverty and inequality that has persisted in many communities for 6-15 generations!
GOODNESS, what a gift YOU are!
Thank you so much for being you! We could not do this work without you. You are a gift to our single parents and this project and we hope you realize it!
When H.O.P.E., Inc. graduate, Shakar, first walked into a resource office as an undergraduate at Georgia State, little did he know he was about to have his life changed because of people like you!
Shakar was seeking support as a single father pursuing his bachelor's degree when he was introduced to H.O.P.E., Inc. Our program allowed him to better balance his studies, his job, and his commitment to his family and helped him reach the first milestone on his journey to becoming an attorney.
This summer, he graduated from Chamberlain University and has already begun the second half of his journey -- finishing law school! His dream is to become a Nurse Attorney.
What is a Nurse Attorney? It is someone who ensures agencies are following healthcare procedures so that each patient receives the best care possible. This requires medical professionals to strictly adhere to laws and regulations governing healthcare.
How does Shakara becoming a Nurse Attorney support Black Lives? According to U.S. profiles, only 6% of all nurses are Black, very few are men, and an even smaller percentage of attorneys are Black at only 5%. According to Marrast (2014), Black nursing professionals provide an opportunity for Black individuals and families to receive health care from people who look like and can relate to them. Diversifying the healthcare workforce provides an opportunity to destruct the systemic biases and racial inequities that persist in healthcare.
You provided the support Shakara needed as an undergraduate single parent with H.O.P.E., Inc. Now that he is pursuing an advanced degree, you are indirectly addressing racial inequities that persist in two different professions. We thank you for continuing to invest in single parents, like Shakara, and look forward to sharing even more success stories with you.
H.O.P.E., Inc. Founder, CEO, & President
p.s. Check out the video below of Shakara talking about his graduation and plans for Law School.
Your commitment to supporting Black lives has led to H.O.P.E., Inc., and our leadership, being recognized for these efforts. This past June, our Founder, CEO, and President, Kenita Smith, was honored as a Black Woman Impact Leader through Goldman Sachs' One Million Black Women initiative. This program aims to support Black female leaders and organizations that are investing in their communities and making a real difference in others' lives. The amazing outcomes of your ongoing support are being seen and felt!
And, even more recently, Mrs. Smith and H.O.P.E., Inc. have been announced as finalists for the Gwinnett County Chamber Moxie Awards. These awards recognize women who are a catalyst for results in their community through the organizations they serve. Winners will be announced this August 31st.
All of us at H.O.P.E., Inc. have long appreciated your investment in Black lives through your support of single parents earning their college degrees. We are thankful that your efforts are now being recognized even outside of our community and we can't wait to discover what's next for H.O.P.E., Inc. and the single parents we serve.
HOPE just celebrated our 100th single-parent served!
Over 92% of the participants in our 12-year history have been Black single parents, with the majority of this group comprised of single mothers. It has been the goal of our program to increase the number of single-parent students who obtain their college degrees, making an even greater generational impact in our community, and affecting real change in the lives of Black families.
Our organization has grown significantly over the past three years (hence why we have reached 100 participants already), and within the next three years, we plan to expand our program model and replicate it nationwide. As such, we are excited to share that the first step in our expansion is to pilot the HOPE program in Birmingham, Alabama!
How will our expansion into Birmingham support Black Lives through education?
Birmingham is an urban area with a low medium household income resulting in 25% of its residents living in poverty. Black residents make up over 67% of the population and many have been locked into generational poverty due to limited access to higher education. Our plan is to closely partner with Lawson State Community College (LSCC), a public, historically black community college with campuses in Birmingham and nearby Bessemer, Alabama. This partnership will provide the framework for our program and afford Birmingham single parents the opportunity to earn their degrees.
We believe that with our recent rapid growth, it is the right time to expand our reach beyond the regional confines of Atlanta and start our support of Black single parents in Birmingham. All of us are excited and confident that through your ongoing commitment to HOPE, we will quickly celebrate 100 single-parent participants served in Birmingham!
Continue to follow us on social media as we share more details of our upcoming expansion!
HOPE, Inc. Founder & CEO
Throughout 2021, you made possible our success as an organization and elevated our programs to support Black single parents enrolled in college. Because of people like you who choose to invest in our community, together we've impacted 267 people's lives by providing rent and child care assistance, financial literacy training, and counseling services. And, for the 16 Black single parents currently enrolled in our program, your donations will help them reach their goals of earning a college degree, lifting them out of poverty, and reducing racial disparity in our community.
As we optimistically look forward to 2022, I invite you to remain on this journey with us. The traditional path to a college degree was not set up for single parents to succeed, especially Black single parents. But together, we will make a lasting, positive impact in the lives of Black single parents who have been marginalized, undermined, or unaccounted for as they try to change the trajectory of their lives.
Wishing you good health and happiness in the New Year,
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
H.O.P.E., Inc. Founder/CEO/President
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