In less than 30 days, my world as I know it will change. You’ve heard stories about how I became a single mom at age 21, and have raised my two biological sons, and stepson, Deon Jr., to beat the odds. Well, within 4 weeks there will be a new addition to my family, and yes, it is another BOY!
We wait with anticipation because Ronald Jr. (RJ) has been longed for with faithful prayers for 25 years by my husband, Ron. RJ will be his very first biological child and the very first grandson on his side of the family! It’s no wonder that our families and friends are so excited for us, as evident by the 100 people in attendance for our baby shower last weekend (and that was a reduced list).
I feel privileged and honored to give my husband this great gift, and in thinking about what it means to have a dream fulfilled, I thought about the great gift you and I give to the single parents we serve every day. Of course, being a conduit of something so special changes one’s life and perspective.
I think about how you helped give Dominique (pictured on the left) her long term dream of becoming a Dental Hygienist. After twelve years of hoping to achieve this goal, she graduated in December 2019, along with nine other graduates! Not only that, she was THE FIRST MEMBER IN HER FAMILY TO GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE! Of course, as a teen mom, she wasn’t expected to accomplish much. The odds were stacked against her, and society stipulated her abilities and worth. Yet, she graduated with a high G.P.A, had job offers in hand before walking the stage, passed her state boards, and increased her salary from $18,000 to $35,000! She took advantage of our financial training programs, increased her credit score by 32 points, and established an emergency fund of $600.
In the months to come, we’ll be sharing your impact in 2019. Life change, like what you just accomplished through your work with H.O.P.E, Inc., is not something to take lightly. Ten lives were changed just last year because of you, and in 2020 seven more graduates will walk across the stage due to your continued support!
So, as I wait for my bundle of joy, I hope that you are filled with joy. The joy of knowing that you not only changed one life last year but ten and you have seven more to impact this year!
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder