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Join Our Team This Football Season: Team HOPE

September 28th, 2020

Football

This season you might not be able to watch your children play sports, or sit outside with your friends while your favorite football team scores the final touchdown. You might not be gathering together for that awesome pre-game party or the delicious food at the tailgate. Even that post-Thanksgiving game of flag football in your backyard might not happen this year.

COVID-19 has probably taken away your ability to coach, cheer, and even be your family’s best Sunday-afternoon quarterback. But that doesn’t mean it’s taken away your ability to be a part of a team: Team H.O.P.E.

How I Won The Game With Team H.O.P.E.

My name is Latiffa, and I’m a current H.O.P.E. participant. I have a lot to be thankful for this year, because of people like you. Because of your donation, I was able to get the counseling and mentorship I needed to improve my life and advance my career. Because of your support for H.O.P.E. and its mission, I know I’m not alone.

In 2019, H.O.P.E. came to me in the form of a lifeline. It had been four years since I moved from New York to Atlanta to create a better life for myself and my daughter. Not only am I the epicenter of my family, but I am my daughter’s world— her only parent.
I began working three jobs and going to school. The hard work and stress seemed like the right thing…until it wasn’t. Bills piled up and I had to make the incredibly hard decision to quit school
in lieu of better pay so that I could help my mother and brother, both of whom had been diagnosed with cancer years prior.

To make matters worse, my grandmother became sick and my uncle was struggling as well. I am my family’s caretaker: the reliable one, the dependable one, the one “most likely to succeed”. I thought that I could never share my struggles, but my world was caving in. I had a job, but couldn’t pay my bills. I was applying for schools that I would never be able to attend. I was afraid of becoming homeless. I was scared of becoming worthless to my family and my daughter. The last good fight I had in me was to find out how to get help with rent, get myself back into school, and find services to heal a newly formed tension between me and my daughter. I didn’t know what I was looking for at the time, but I found the answers in H.O.P.E.

H.O.P.E. quickly helped me find temporary rental assistance, access to school grants and scholarships, and resources to sell my car and get a better one. They also helped me manage my other expenses, ease my stress, and strengthen my relationships with my family. The best part? They never once made me feel like I was getting a handout – it was an opportunity, a lifeline.

Through counseling, a career mentor, and access to resources, H.O.P.E. helped me to get back on track. I was able to find the champion within myself and get back to school and excel in a budding career in Human Resources. When my mother’s health deteriorated, a former H.O.P.E. graduate purchased buddy pass tickets so that I could fly first-class to see her.
As I see it, if you’re going to invest in a worthy cause, this is it…H.O.P.E. To serve just one single parent (the way they helped me) costs $4,582.50 per year. Their goal this year is to serve 20 parents.

So will you join our team?

What I’m asking you to do today is to help me take this ball down the field to score another touchdown for a single parent who’s afraid, discouraged, and hanging on by a thread. Help us all by supporting H.O.P.E. with a year-end gift.

Pick your team title:

Cheerleader: $100
Player: $250
Coach: $500 or more
Team Owner: $1,000 or more

Every team has players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans. Donate today and join our team…take another single parent, like me, to the Superbowl!

Sincerely,
Latiffa A.
Proud member of Team H.O.P.E.

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, please like and follow H.O.P.E.’s Facebook page— where I’ll be hosting a live event in November.

Run With Us, Enter to Win Big Peach Co. Shoes!

September 11th, 2020

 

Run

Wanna win a brand new pair of running shoes?

We’re excited to announce that this year for our annual Neon Deon 5K Run (happening September 21- October 7‬) we’ll be partnering up with one of Atlanta’s top fitness stores— Big Peach Running Co.!

In honor of the event, Big Peach Running Co. will be generously donating a FREE pair of shoes to one lucky runner, a $150 value!

So how do you win?

LIKE, FOLLOW, and then TAG two people on either the H.O.P.E, Inc. (Helping Other People be Empowered) page, or this Neon Deon page AND Big Peach Running Co. – Suwanee or Big Peach Running Co. – Brookhaven to qualify for a FREE pair of shoes from Big Peach Running Co.

The opportunity ends September 16 at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced ‪on September 18!

 

 

Support Atlanta’s Frontline Workers: Donate To HOPE

September 2nd, 2020

ICU Nurses

If these last few months have left you feeling down, you’re not alone. With everything that’s happened because of COVID-19, it’s been a hard year, especially for those who were already struggling to get by before the pandemic. Everyone is feeling the effects of 2020— even Michelle Obama, who recently said she’s coping with depression.

Last week we spoke with a HOPE graduate named Tiffany about her experience as an ICU nurse during COVID. “It’s scary for me because I had a coworker, another nurse, who died in that unit after catching COVID from helping our patients,” she said. “I’ve seen a few cases where people have survived, but most of the cases ended in death.”

To help get through the everyday stress of her work, Tiffany has started counseling sessions to help address her anxiety and depression. “A lot of patients are dying and people don’t realize how many,” she said. “You might see the numbers posted on the news, but I see the faces. Everyday it’s scary.”

In Georgia alone, we’ve seen over 200,000 people get sick, and over 4,000 deaths. And these numbers don’t tell the full story, since many more have died of COVID-related health complications.

“I look at your emails to get hope,” says Tiffany. “Because right now I don’t see a lot of hope on my floor in the ICU unit.”

Help us help them

Here at HOPE we’re supporting both the parents who’ve fallen on hard times during the pandemic, as well as our frontline heroes. With many of our program graduates working as nurses or in health-related fields, we’re doing our best to make sure all members of our program have the support they need during this difficult time.

Support HOPE

You can help us in our efforts to support single parents and frontline heroes by making a one-time or recurring monthly donation to HOPE. We can’t do this work without you, and your monthly gift makes a huge difference to every parent in our program.

Your gift of $40/month will help with our emergency assistance fund. Recently, we’ve helped parents with utilities, donated cars, car insurance, food, rent, gas, even diapers.

Your gift of $60/month can mean a life-saving counseling session for one participant.

Your gift of $120/month can support a single parent with two counseling sessions during a difficult time.

Your monthly donation will allow us to increase our resiliency, by providing more parents with emergency assistance and mental health support. Your donation doesn’t just help single parents, it helps create and keep families healthy.

With love,
The HOPE Inc. Team

About HOPE

Here at HOPE, we’re dedicated to helping single parents of Metro Atlanta through education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, 95% of whom are African American, are able to obtain their college degrees and secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.

 

Make A Difference, Get Outside: Join Us for Our First Ever Virtual 5k!

August 20th, 2020

5k Run

It’s been a tough year. But nothing gets our spirits up quite like getting outside and spending time with our favorite people. Even if you can’t physically get together with your family and friends right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something fun….like joining us for our first ever Virtual 5K!

Join Us!

This year we’ll be calling up our favorite people and inviting them to join us (anytime between September 21 and October 7) for a Virtual 5k. Not only will it allow you to get out (and chat with your family or friends on video), but the proceeds also go towards a great cause— helping single parents in Metro Atlanta get their college degrees, aka HOPE!

The best part? It’s only $10 to sign up!

How It Works:

Step 1: Register!

Step 2: Send a note to your friend or family members, like this one:

Hey, I miss you! Want to do a virtual 5K together sometime between Sept 21st and Oct 7th? It would be great to walk and talk, while also raising money for the single-parent families of HOPE Inc. Interested? Let’s try it! Here’s the link to sign up.

Step 3: Between Sept 21st and October 7th, complete your walking Virtual 5k while chatting on your favorite app (Zoom, What’s App, House Party, Skype…you name it)!

As you walk, you and your friends can also use our It’s Your Run app. From the app, you’ll be able to upload your pictures and videos, plus keep track of your time and distance!

Free, Fun Swag!

Once registered, you’ll get instructions for picking up your Swag Bag, which includes a customized face mask, hand sanitizer, and a wristband.

Want even more swag? You can also order one of our custom Virtual 5K T-Shirts for just $25. This year, they’ll be promoting our chosen theme:
“And the three of these remain, Faith, Hope, and Love.”

By joining our virtual event, you’ll also be eligible for these awesome prizes:

  • $25 Amazon gift card to the first five people that set up a fundraising page and make their goal by October 5, 2020
  • $100 Amazon gift card to the person who raises the most money for the event

We’ve lost a lot this year, but there’s still so much we can do. We hope you’ll join us and spend some time outside catching up with loved ones, and supporting the important work we’re doing for our single parent students.

Join us, get outside, and make a difference!

With love,
The HOPE Inc. Team

About HOPE

Here at HOPE, we’re dedicated to helping single parents of Metro Atlanta through education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, 95% of whom are African American, are able to obtain their college degrees and secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.

Celebrate Black Lives & 828 Day: Support HOPE

August 11th, 2020

828 Day

This year on August 28th, we honor the memory of Emmett Till, the 14-year old boy who was brutally killed by three white men in 1955. That morning, Roy Bryant, Mose Wright, and J.W. Milam tore Till from his bed and drove him to Milam’s home. There, the men beat Till to death before dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. The reason for this heinous crime? Till had been accused of harassing Bryant’s wife.

Although the current moment also feels dark with instances of racist violence, we are doing our best at HOPE to look towards the future, and take thoughtful  steps towards better days— much the way Till’s mother did in 1955.

After recovering her son’s body, authorities wanted a quick and quiet burial, but Till’s mother had other plans. Once seeing the remains of her boy, Mamie Bradley chose to have an open-casket funeral so the world could lay witness to what these men had done. And although ultimately not charged for their crimes, the exposure of this brutal crime was one of the primary inciting incidents leading up to the historical Civil Rights Movement.

Help Us Make History

Today, much like those dark days back in 1955, you can take strides with us towards meaningful change. This month, in honor of August 28th, people all over the nation will be donating to black-led and black-serving organizations.

Here at HOPE, we’re serving the black community by helping single parents of Metro Atlanta advance their education.
Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, 95% of whom are African American, are able to obtain their college degrees and secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.

But we can’t do it without you.

Help us help them!

Call for Support

 

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, we’re working hard every day to meet the needs of our participants— and we always appreciate extra help.

Here are just some of the ways you can support us in honor of 8/28 Day.

$10 – Your $10 donation allows us to open a savings account for a single parent
$35 – A donation of $25 provides financial training to one of our program participants
$70 – Donating $70 pays for a single parent to get the counseling they need
$100 – Helps us secure one full week of quality childcare for our single parents
$250 – Secures rent for our single parents (and their children) for a full month
$1,000 – Covers a full year of childcare for one of our single working parents

Make a donation

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.

 

Calling all single parents students in Gwinnett County, Atlanta!

July 15th, 2020
Graduate student
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!

About Us

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

July 14th, 2020

BLM Fundraiser

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

Infographic

 

Click here to support black lives in Atlanta

 

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)

July 9th, 2020

Working

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.

Set goals

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.

Remove temptation

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.

Psst…

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.

 

What did you hate most about running 5K’s before?

June 19th, 2020

Was it the early call time or the far locations that kept you from participating in local 5K events before?

Well, we’re excited to announce that the Deon Lewis Memorial HOPE Run (Neon Deon Run) is going virtual this year! That’s right, you can participate from anywhere in the world, at any time, anywhere you want during the dates of our event.

But virtual doesn’t have to mean without interaction. You’ll still feel the great energy that our 5K is known for. We’ll have live pre-workout videos every day of the race, a little comic relief, and a live award ceremony to top it off. Here’s a little video explaining how it all works. https://youtu.be/OaR7EY3rcSw

What I love most about this event is that many of our out of state friends can finally run and walk with us and it only costs $10!  Click this link to pre-register to ensure that you get your face mask and hand sanitizer with registration.

Sincerely,

Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder
H.O.P.E, Inc.

P.S. Run or walk with us anytime from September 21, 2020, at 8 am through October 7, 2020, at 11 pm for our Neon Deon Run to support low-income single parents while fighting the invisible enemy, Coron
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There is a real fear

June 4th, 2020


If you’re connected at all to any form of communicative device, you are aware of the worldwide protest going on right now due to the countless and senseless murders of

young black men (and at times young black women) at the hands of law enforcement. For years, young black men have been murdered simply due to stereotypes, racism, and fear.

You may ask yourself, why is this something that we would address through our nonprofit’s platform. The answer is simple because 95% of the participants we have supported in our ten-year life span have been African-American. Even further, I am a young black mother, with a black husband, and four black sons. And there is a real fear. 

Just recently, my son was pulled over after work for speeding trying to pass the car in front of him, and I was SCARED. My first thought was, “NO, NOT NOW!” Because protest had been going on for a couple of days and I didn’t know if he was going to encounter an agitated cop. I prayed that he would remember to use the techniques I taught him about how to engage with a police officer if pulled over…to place his hands on the dashboard at all times, be polite and not argumentative, don’t reach for anything unless asked (and even then announce what he is grabbing), keep everything in one place so that he is not reaching in different places for the documents he needs, and lastly, if you are arrested don’t resist and don’t say a word. I’d hoped he would make it home alive and safe because I’ve seen videos of young black men murdered during a routine traffic stop even when compliant. And for what? Fear. 

Much of why we do the work we do at H.O.P.E, Inc. is to break barriers and defy stereotypes. I didn’t want to be a statistic, and neither do our single parents. They work hard to fight the double standards of society that pre-judge their ability, professionalism, intelligence, and even their worth because of the color of their skin. We support education with hopes that they can be taken seriously and earn a liveable wage to avoid a life of poverty. This movement helped birth H.O.P.E, inc. before it was named because it is a fight that African-Americans have had to fight since we were brought to this country.

We are blessed to know that we are supported by a diverse group of people that help us break barriers every day. They see the passion of our single parents and they care, but do they care enough to stand? It is imperative that their voice is heard just as much as ours so that we can live out the dreams of civil rights icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. that fought for equality.

There is a real fear and African-Americans are tired. We’re tired of dying, and I hope if you are not African-American that you are tired of reading about it and are moved enough to protest, talk to people you know that have the wrong view of what’s happening today and support your black and brown brothers and sisters. This is humanities fight, not just ours.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder
H.O.P.E, Inc.