H.O.P.E, Inc. fills gaps in support for student parents

“Our organization has changed the trajectory of families,” said Kenita Smith, CEO and founder of H.O.P.E, Inc. “In Atlanta, we have the lowest rate of upward mobility (4%) for low-income children, and 48% of those children are in single-parent households in which the parents have less than a college education.”

Smith started H.O.P.E, Inc. after struggling through college as a single parent. She saw the gap in assistance that parents at two and four-year colleges faced, and she decided that helping to fill that lack would be one of the most fulfilling ways she could spend her life.

“I remembered being denied childcare assistance from the government program, CAPS, because I was attending a four-year college, but I was told if I was obtaining a certificate or diploma they could help me. I remembered thinking how backwards that was,” said Smith.

H.O.P.E, Inc. is tailored around the busy life of a single parent, with financial support and budget trainings, and when the coronavirus pandemic began to affect participants in 2020, H.O.P.E, Inc. were able to pivot easily to provide more support.

“We stepped in and increased the amount of emergency assistance we provided by 121%, including utility, food and moving assistance in addition to our rent and childcare assistance for our single-parent students,” said Smith.

In H.O.P.E, Inc.’s March 2021 graduate survey the group was thrilled to see hard evidence that their work is paying off, with 88% of participating graduates working in their career field, significant increases in income across the board and a 62 point average credit score increase.

Who’s helping?

H.O.P.E, Inc.

Services: H.O.P.E, Inc. assists low-income single parents working to obtain an associates or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college through financial support and training programs.

Where to donate: Donations can be made at www.hopbe.org or by mail to H.O.P.E, Inc. at P.O. Box 3166, Duluth, GA 30096.

How to get help: Visit hopbe.org, and go to the “apply” tab to review requirements and submit an online application.

If you are involved in or know of an organization working to bring relief to the Atlanta community during the coronavirus pandemic OR you are with an organization with supplies that you don’t know where to donate, please email us at Shannon.n.Dominy@gmail.com.