Jeremiah Program Minneapolis-St. Paul welcomed Vikings football star Anthony Barr to our Child Development Center October 28. Anthony and his foundation, Raise the Barr, are partnering with Jeremiah in support of single moms.
The children, who donned shirts with his number “55” on them, had a blast playing and reading with him!
As the Vikings noted, “At 6-foot-5, Barr was a spectacle seated in a chair barely off the classroom floor, his folded knees near the height of the toddlers’ heads as he read a book about individual differences.”
“I’ll be honest, I came in and was kind of tired and lethargic, and they woke me right up. They were fun,” Barr said. “Infants, then toddlers and moved on to the preschoolers, and they were like 25 years old, had full vocabulary and were full of energy.”
Jeremiah looks forward to working with Anthony over the coming months. Watch the wonderful video about Anthony and his work here, and read the Vikings post and see all the pictures.
This past weekend I had the great privilege of serving on a panel at the PoweHERful Twin Cities Summit, hosted by Soledad O’Brien’s Starfish Foundation. As often happens when I am in the presence of young women who are facing struggles head on, I learn profound things.
This summit was no different.
The comments I heard from the high-school and college-aged participants mirror what I often hear from Jeremiah moms:
- There are too many young women who continue to believe that. if they choose to work or further their education, they will not be considered supportive of their families. One girl told us that her mom didn’t want her to work or go to college because she needed her help at home while her brothers pursued their education. Let’s spread the message, as we do every day at Jeremiah, that education and work do not preclude being a supportive member of a family.
- Many young women are fearful of pursuing their dreams because they are afraid of failure. One girl painted a clear picture: she wants to pursue a performing arts education but is afraid to audition for fear of failing. I answered in return: Failure is an essential part of success. Let’s each of us share our real stories—stories of both success and failure—to ensure that young women and girls are not held back by fear.
- Young women struggle with following an educational path of interest because they are unsure how it will translate into a livable wage job. At Jeremiah, we are focused on connecting our moms with mentors and networks to help them see just what is possible, that commitment and passion can put us at the top of our game. Share that message!
I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to and more deeply understand the struggles that constrain the potential of young women and girls. I also was moved by the wisdom of my fellow panelists: Dr. Sharon McDaniel from A Second Chance, Dr. Verna Price from Girls in Action, and Sheba Turk, news anchor from WWL-TV in New Orleans.
Most of all, I was inspired to double down on Jeremiah’s mission to transform lives two generations at a time.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has awarded Jeremiah Program $100,000 in support of the organization’s strategic plan to expand its ability to serve more families across the Jeremiah network.
“This generous support will allow Jeremiah to accelerate its growth to nearly double the number of families we are serving across the country in the next three years,” said President & CEO Gloria Perez. “We are deeply grateful for the Schulze Family Foundation’s continued investment in our proven model.”
Specifically, the funds will be used to:
- Write a handbook to help effectively launch new campuses based on successful strategies developed in the flagship Minneapolis-St Paul model;
- Develop the organization’s first policy position plan related to two-generation programming;
- Train organizational leaders to tell the Jeremiah story with greater impact; and
- Strengthen operational infrastructure through an improved multi-year national fundraising campaign, long-term space plan, and updated financial systems.
“Our new strategic plan calls for acceleration of our impact, innovation in how we deliver our program, and demonstration of our model as we advance a national conversation on the two-generation approach to ending poverty,” said Perez. “This major gift advances that plan in so many significant ways, and helps us move more families from poverty to prosperity.”
“For nearly 20 years, Jeremiah has responded to the needs of low-income single mothers and their children and to help launch each on a path to self-sufficiency,” said Dr. Mark Dienhart, CEO of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “But there’s more to be done. As the number of kids raised in families led by single moms continues to grow across the country, so has Jeremiah’s response. We’re pleased to help Jeremiah take local initiatives that will enhance its ability to respond more broadly to this societal challenge.”