Calling all single parents students in Gwinnett County, Atlanta!
Hey Gwinnett County!
Are you a single parent currently enrolled in a college program to earn your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree? If so, keep reading, because…
Our funding and support program for single parent students here at HOPE Inc. is now accepting applicants for the Fall 2020 semester— and we especially want to hear from YOU Gwinnett County!
H.O.P.E. Inc. is an education nonprofit supporting Metro Atlanta. We work with single parent students to help them obtain a college degree, develop essential life skills, and ultimately become self-sufficient.
We do this by providing our single parent students with:
- Financial assistance for housing and childcare
- A facilitator to connect our students to community resources
- Financial literacy and a game plan for financial independence
- Counseling resources and success coaching
Sound interesting? Here are a few more details about our program and what you can expect from us.
What we provide
- Child care assistance– HOPE provides up to $100 per week for child care assistance— which is paid directly to the childcare provider on behalf of the program participant.
- Rent assistance– We provide up to $400 per month in rent assistance, paid directly to the mortgage lender or apartment leasing officer on behalf of the program participant.
- Social services – One of our licensed social worker volunteers will be available to provide more information and assistance on obtaining services such as food stamps, Medicaid, and locating quality childcare or housing.
- Life skills training– Participants will have access to free training programs that include topics such as job-related training, career advancement skills, resume/ interview prep, job search skills, as well as our financial literacy programs. Participants will also be invited to monthly webinars on budgeting and credit counseling provided by a certified financial advisor.
- Emotional support & mentoring– You’ll work with us to develop a Personalized Service Plan that will help us assess areas of need, and also identifies areas in which the participant needs emotional support and mentoring as pathways to empowerment. Referrals to community resources such as a licensed counselor for the participant and children will also be available.
What you’ll need to apply
In order to apply…
- You must be a US Citizen, a single parent with primary custody, and a high school graduate (or have obtained a GED)
- Enrolled in a two or four-year college as a full-time student working towards a degree (no certificates or diplomas)
- Employed as an FT or PT employee for at least 6 months
- Dependants must LIVE WITH the applicant
- Show financial need
- Have a 2.7 GPA or higher
Sound like you? Check out our application page to apply today!
Support Black Lives Matter in Atlanta: Uplift A Single Parent Student
We know this: One of the best ways to fight inequality is by taking steps to guarantee intergenerational economic mobility (IGM) for black families and their children. One way to get there? Education.
Intergenerational economic mobility refers to the likelihood that a child will experience a higher standard of living than their parents, and in the US this number is sorely lacking. In fact, a 2015 study from The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality found that on average, IGM is significantly lower in the U.S. than in most other developed countries.
What does that mean? It means that poor American families are staying in poverty for many generations, with some scientists estimating that it takes as many as 10 to 15 generations for families to break free of it.
HOPE: How We’re Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
“Education is not a way to escape poverty, it is a way of fighting it.” -Julius Nyerere
Here at HOPE, we like to think of ourselves as breaking that cycle of poverty with education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, who are 95% African American, are able to obtain their college degrees in six years or less and thus secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.
There are many black Americans struggling to complete a four-year degree, but our program specifically targets those who may arguably be struggling the most: working single parents living in Metro Atlanta— which is considered by some to be one of the most difficult cities for solo parents.
Our Success Stories
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” -Nelson Mandela
As of 2019, HOPE has served 195 people, including 64 single parents and 131 children. Our program, which has an 80% graduation rate, supports participants throughout the duration of their two or four-year degrees by providing rent and child care assistance, financial seminars, and even counseling.
While more than half of our graduates previously earned annual incomes under $20,000, over a third now earn between $30,000 and $40,000, and another 42% of our graduates are earning over $50,000 in their chosen fields— a 121% increase.
Call for Support
“In this program, I was never alone.” – Laverne M., HOPE graduate and mother of five
We’re proud to have served so many hard working single parents in Metro Atlanta, and we’re always looking to do more. We believe that the success of our program is largely due to our holistic approach, and the time we spend making sure each participant has what they need to succeed.
As a small team of only two full-time employees, we’re working hard every day to meet the needs of our participants— and we always appreciate the extra help.
Here are just some of the ways you can support the black lives in our community and help us meet our $2,500 fundraising goal
Any donation you make will help us to continue our mission of HOPE: to empower, encourage, and equip working single parents in our community, and allow them to provide a better life for themselves, their children, and generations to come.
How to Set A Budget (And Stick to It)
Setting a budget and sticking with it is hard, especially when money is tight. With bills coming in and only so much income to pay for them, it can be a challenge to set long-term financial goals that are actually attainable.
Fortunately, there are several tried-and-true strategies that can help you create a budget, and more importantly— stick to it. Here are a few ways to get started coming up with a budget plan that works for you and your family.
Keep track of your money
It’s impossible to know what you can afford without keeping track of your money. This means tracking what’s coming in and what’s going out. If you have one job, the first part is easier— just note your monthly income. If you have multiple jobs and side gigs, this is where having some sort of spreadsheet or tracking system can help. At the end of every week, take a minute to note what you earned.
You’ll also want to note down all your essential bills. This includes things like rent, groceries, health insurance, anything you can’t live without. Seeing these numbers on paper (or on a screen) will help you determine what’s left, and what can be put towards your savings goals or used as extra spending money. By prioritizing your must-haves first, you’ll also guarantee that you never come up short for those important items.
Now that you know a bit more about your monthly earnings and spendings, it’s time to set some long-term financial goals. Although it’s a great aspiration, not all of us can afford the recommended annual retirement savings. But the most important thing when it comes to retirement, is to start saving. Pick a goal that makes sense for you financially, and get in the habit of putting that money aside every month. Organize your savings into emergency and long-term savings accounts, and pick an amount to save every month that you can actually afford. Maybe your goals are lower than you’d like them to be at first. But the point isn’t so much about the money, as it is about getting into good financial habits. Once savings becomes a normal part of your financial routine, it will feel easier— and become a lifelong practice.
Trim your expenses
Nobody likes to go without their favorite things, but sometimes trimming your expenses is an important part of coming up with that extra income needed to pay bills or contribute to savings. Take an honest look at your budget and decide how much you can afford in monthly spending money. This will be the money you can use for extras like eating out, shopping, or even just grabbing your favorite iced coffee. Knowing in advance what you can afford will help you stick to an amount, and prioritize what you truly want to buy that month. It also guarantees that your money goes towards all the important things (like bills and savings) before splurging on the other stuff— and you’ll enjoy that extra spending more knowing you can actually afford it.
One of the best ways to stick to your budget is to remove temptations. Maybe that means unsubscribing from your favorite store’s emails or catalogs, or taking a different road home that doesn’t take you past your go-to takeout spot. It might also mean skipping trips to the mall and avoiding the places you know you’ll want to spend money. Whatever you can do to remove temptation from going over budget, do it. By stepping back from these tempting environments for a while, you’ll be able to hold onto more of your money— which will help you solidify your budget and stick to it in the long term.
Keep your eye on the prize
In all of your budgeting practice, be sure to set some long term goals for yourself. Maybe your goal is to become a homeowner, or to pay off your credit card debts. Whatever it is, having this goal will help you keep your eye on the prize— especially when the temptation to go over-budget arises. By having a long-term financial goal, it becomes easier to say no to other types of spending and stick to your budget. After all, owning a home or becoming debt free will bring a lot more happiness than some overpriced coffee.
Are you interested in completing your college degree? We’re now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 semester from single parents living in Metro Atlanta (especially those in Gwinnet)!
Take a look at our eligibility requirements to start your application today.
Questions? Get in touch with us here.