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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!

 

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.

 

If I was in her shoes…

December 3rd, 2019

It’s hard to believe that this little boy has grown to be such a great young man. In this picture, he had to be about three years old, and now he is a freshman in college at Georgia State University, proving that kids of single parents that go to college have a 40% chance of attending college as well.

There are many characteristics and qualities that make him awesome. He’s well mannered, intelligent, family-oriented, and gives HOPE every month to support single parents in need, just to name a few, but what reminded me of what a wonderful son I have is what he did today! Without any pressure from me, he donated $33 to our GA Gives Day Campaign to help us meet our goal, and he did it because, “if it was me in need, I would want someone to give too!” It was a simple statement, but to hear that statement coming from an eighteen-year-old millennial truly blessed me! Being a freshman he can understand how hard it is to finish college, and knowing his mom’s story he acted.
Destinee literally has only one semester left of college, and almost had to drop out due to a series of financial hardships. At this moment, we are only $502 away from our goal of $1,000. to help her complete her college degree. You can help by clicking here today,

 

Thank you in advance for believing in our single parents and being the help they need!

Sincerely,

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

P.S. We’re halfway there! Click here to help Destinee today!

You don’t know my story….

November 28th, 2019

 

My name is Marion and I am the Treasurer on the Board of H.O.P.E, Inc. Most of you don’t know my personal story, but I would like to share it with you today.

I became a mother at the young age of 17, which could have made me a statistic, and not only a statistic but not such a positive one. So many reports don’t paint teen mother’s in successful light, but through the grace of God and my family’s love and support,  I was able to beat the odds. I finished high school, my bachelor’s degree, and MBA all before the age of 30

I share this because I know how important it is to complete a college degree as a single parent first hand, which is why I joined HOPE Inc.’s Board in 2015.  The organization’s mission of helping single parents complete their college degrees resonated with me, and I personally desire to help other single parents complete their college degrees as I did.

Today, we both can do just that by clicking here today,

Thank you in advance for allowing more single parents to make it as I did!

Sincerely,

Marion Q.
Board of Director, Treasurer
H.O.P.E, Inc.

P.S. It’s game on! Let’s keep making a difference by clicking here today!