As I anxiously sat at Kayuh Coffee Shop, I explained to two powerhouse women how my team and I were amazed by their program, Hope Partnership for Education. I told them all of our plans and about the class we were a part of to help paint the picture of what the next few months could look like. For 10 minutes, I word vomited all of this information and when I caught a breath, their program director, Brittany says, with a smile on her face, “Wow that was more than we were expecting.” This was the beginning of our journey with Hope.
Last semester Brittany came to my education GenEd to speak. We had a handful of speakers before this but no one held a candle to the story of Hope. She had our entire class engaged and wanted to jump into their program head first. So, six months later when I had the opportunity to help an organization through the Entrepreneurial Marketing class I knew who I needed to call- Hope.
With over 40% of the North Philadelphia area living under the poverty line there is a desperate need for change in the foundation of how the community operates. The graduation rate in the neighborhood is 41%, but Hope’s hands on approach has earned them a 95.2% graduation rate. Hope Partnership’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education. Hope Partnership works with at-risk youth and their families in eastern North Philadelphia (19133 zip code) by providing quality education services, including an extended day/year Middle School, Graduate Support program, and an Adult Education program, to this underserved and overlooked community, where violence and poverty pervade. Hope is independent of the Philadelphia School System, which means they do not receive funding from the city.
Some organizations work to solve the problem at hand, which in this case would be quality education, but Hope achieves that, and then digs deeper. They work to solve poverty through education. They host adult basic literacy courses, introduction to computer, and ESL classes. They also help with teaching how to help your child with math and reading, financial literacy, health issues, preparing your child for high school, brain based learning, and family crisis management. Adult Education increased the number of students from 25 to 35, and continues to improve each student’s skills one grade level per year. Seven students have successfully obtained their GED through our program, including one student who recently scored among the highest in the country on all four exams. It is one thing to help kids achieve a higher quality of education but to tackle adult literacy and help to rebuild a foundation a community is far above what any school I have ever encountered has taken on.
I believe in Hope because they operate as a family. Their staff follows the paths of each student after they graduate middle school and continue to high school and college. The exhibit love and mentorship for each of their students. After our conversation I was given the greenlight to take the reins on fundraising and recruiting volunteers. The staff was incredibly flexible and open to our ideas. I believe education is the only effective way out of poverty. The more a community is educated the more business comes to their community, and the more educated role models there are for the children to aspire to be. Hope Partnership is the catalyst of change North Philadelphia desperately needs. To help Hope continue creating change donate here: http://www.the101010foundation.org/hope-partnership