By Ashley Seastone, GED Program Coordinator
Education is key to self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, the majority of our teen moms encounter numerous barriers that prevent them from being engaged in the traditional school system.
And the barriers they face are often overwhelming.
Some must work to contribute to family income.
Many come from unstable households with issues around abuse, neglect or addiction.
Additionally, each of our teen moms is also busy parenting a child.
That fact, plus these significant barriers, usually results in chronic absenteeism, which contributes to a lack of educational progress as well as alienation and disengagement.
Ultimately, these young women decide to drop out. In fact, over half of teen moms will never earn their high school degree!
When the day comes that these young women want to move forward in their lives and find sustainable employment, they find they must first either graduate from high school or earn a high school equivalency certificate.
That is the point when many of our teen moms first find Hope House.
However, when they begin our GED Program, they usually bring with them negative perceptions about school and even their own academic abilities and potential.
Clearly these students need a different approach in order to succeed and earn their GED!
Hope House has made it a priority to offer a different approach… one that empowers our teen moms to move forward and thrive.
How? First, we provide a positive, welcoming, safe environment. We then empower our teen moms by giving them a voice in their educational plan and by allowing them to make their own schedules.
Above all else, we personalize the learning process with each girl. Our students work one-on-one with tutors to prepare for their high school equivalency exams. This allows them to work at their own pace and intentionally focus on what they need to learn.
This format also allows our teen moms to form positive relationships with our staff and volunteer tutors.
Relationship happens because our tutors are patient and work at each student’s individual rate of learning. They respect each girl’s unique story, background and struggles. They encourage and motivate them to achieve their goals. In short, our tutors are fully invested in our student’s lives and education.
Our small class size and individual help is key and is what our students appreciate most.
This is what our recent GED graduates had to say about their involvement in our GED Program:
“My experience in the GED Program at Hope House was so much different from regular high school because it was a small class and the tutors were able to help me and focus on what I needed.”
“I loved the one-on-one work. It helped me understand the material better. The tutors were a big help. They gave me more hope!”
“I liked that I got one-on-one help with my studying and that they were flexible. They understood that things come up when you are a teen mom.”
Our individualized learning environment allows us to be flexible when “life happens.” If a student gets called into work, has a family emergency or a sick child, she doesn’t miss out on a day of lecturing or fall behind. She can pick up right where she left off, no matter how much time has passed. This enables our students to balance work, school and parenting. It allows them to continue to pursue their educational goals — even when life is chaotic.
It works! Historically we have had over 180 girls earn their high school equivalency! We contribute that success to our personalized learning model, one-on-one tutoring, the dedication of our tutors, and the perseverance of the amazing young women we serve!