Across the country, 18 million children are growing up in single mother homes. In addition to the struggles of single parenting, many single mothers face the vicious cycle of poverty that prevents them from pursuing the educational opportunities they need to succeed. With barriers from childcare to financial resources, most single mothers in low-income communities don’t have the support and encouragement to pursue education for themselves and break out of poverty.
Jeremiah Program exists to help break the cycle of poverty for low-income single mothers and their children, two generations at a time. With a strong belief that education is key to economic independence and success, Jeremiah Program helps break down the barriers preventing mothers and their children from accessing quality education. The program provides far more than educational opportunities. Jeremiah is founded on five key elements to create a successful environment for single mothers and their kids.
- Safe, affordable housing communities offer a place where women can live in community without the overwhelming financial burden of unsafe, high-rent housing options.
- Empowerment training and life skills help women develop the personal skills they need to set career goals and achieve them. Practical training like budgeting, financial literacy, and parenting skills equip mothers to implement healthy, positive habits for their families.
- Personal career coaching helps women set and achieve attainable short and long-term goals. Many times, women have a desire for more education and better career options, but they lack the confidence, knowledge, skills, and flexibility to make the changes. With the help of a trusted guide and accountability partner, they can pursue their dreams.
- Early childhood education centers provide quality educational opportunities for infants and young children, building a strong academic foundation and ensuring kids are well-cared for cognitively, socially, and emotionally. Children stay on track developmentally and mothers are at-ease that their kids are safe and happy.
- A supportive community sets a strong relational foundation that undergirds the entire program. For many women, the worst aspect of living in poverty is the isolation that comes with it. By fostering a strong network supplemented with volunteers and staff, women know they always have a place to go. Living in such a community cultivates perseverance when times get difficult.
Women who participate in the Jeremiah Program work hard to achieve their own educational goals, set an example for their children, and break their families out of poverty. All the while, they are reminded by staff that they have intrinsic value and power to change their own lives.
The impact of the Jeremiah Program is undeniable. Eighty percent of alumnae from the past five years live above the federal poverty line, and 89 percent are able to afford safe housing.
The mission of Jeremiah Program is close to Gloria Perez’s heart. After her father died when she was 10 years old, Gloria and her siblings were raised by her single mother. Living in a low-income community and watching her mother pursue a college degree gave Gloria hope for the opportunities available in her own life. Her personal story inspired Gloria to work in community-based organizations to serve families and communities like her own. With experience in domestic violence, education, and intervention, Gloria came to the Jeremiah Program 19 years ago as president and CEO. Jeremiah Program started in Minneapolis in 1993 and has successfully expanded to St. Paul, Austin, Boston, Fargo, and Rochester.
Jeremiah Program is a 2017 S+ Catalyst. Through participation in the Catalyst Program, Jeremiah Program receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach.