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Generation Hope’s Two-Generation Solution to Poverty

A variety of innovative programs for healthier students or teachers have been featured at the Center for Total Health, but Generation Hope was the first to approach us about a multigenerational event and an initiative for teen parents living in DC. Generation Hope provides the mentors, emotional support and financial resources that teen parents need to complete college, and for their children to “rock” kindergarten.

Oftentimes, teen pregnancy results in students dropping out of high school or losing hope to attend college. However, in 2010, Nicole Lynn Lewis founded Generation Hope to create educational opportunity for teen parents living in the D.C. area, where the teen pregnancy rate exceeds the national average. Learn more

Generation Hope supports up to 100 Scholars each year. Students in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who are active parents, under age 26 and planning to attend a two- or four-year college are encouraged to apply to the Generation Hope Scholar Program. If accepted, they can receive up to $2,400 per academic year, one-on-one mentoring, free tutoring, case management support and other resources to help them graduate.

According to Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, fewer than two percent of teen mothers earn a college degree before age 30. Yet the students in the Generation Hope program graduate in line with the national average for all college students, regardless of income or whether they have a child.

Furthermore, their Scholars’ graduation rate is almost double the graduation rate of low-income college students and almost nine times the graduation rate of single mothers nationwide. Among their 2018 graduates, 92 percent were employed full time, 30 percent were enrolled in graduate school, and 100 percent were living above the federal poverty line within six months of graduation.

This summer, Generation Hope welcomed 26 new Scholars (including one father) to the program and hosted their New Scholar/Sponsor Training at the Center for Total Health. Mentors and mentees learned how to establish trust and communicate effectively with each other. Children of all ages were also welcomed as Generation Hope provides free child care at all their events.

Last year, Generation Hope launched the Next Generation Academy to ensure that the children of their Scholars are developmentally, academically, and emotionally prepared for kindergarten and grades following. Kaiser Permanente highlighted the importance of this holistic preparation for school in an article about How to Help Your Child with Back-to-School Anxiety calling out the fact that mental preparation is as important as getting the right school supplies.

To learn more about becoming involved with Generation Hope, visit or donate to them through back to school shopping at

About Generation Hope Founder and CEO, Nicole Lynn Lewis

In 2003, Nicole Lewis walked across the graduation stage at the College of William & Mary as a former teen mom who overcame homelessness and a drug-infested environment to beat the odds and receive her college degree. Today, Generation Hope is the only community-based nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. focused on college completion and early childhood success.

Generation Hope has been featured by CNN, The Washington Post, “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and “The Steve Harvey Show.”

About the Center for Total Health

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