A Community Conversation About Expanding Model Nationally

The National Board of Directors of Jeremiah Program hosted a community conversation on September 12, to discuss the future of the organization’s two-generational model on a national level. More than 100 attendees gathered to participate in table discussions and to hear from a panel about the need for and successful outcomes of Jeremiah’s approach. KSTP-TV News anchor Leah McLean moderated the discussion, which kicked off with a compelling presentation from Angel Jennings, a 2010 Jeremiah Program graduate.

Angel began her talk with these words: “Jeremiah is not a nonprofit organization; it’s a community.” She told of her struggles prior to entering the program and of her determination to succeed. In particular, she said that when she learned — in a Jeremiah Life Skills class — about the pervasive achievement gap for children of color, she declared, “My children will not be a part of that!”

The dependability, focus and commitment Angel developed in her time at Jeremiah has paid off, said panelist Anne Krocak, Angel’s supervisor at AchieveMpls. “Angel is one of the most coachable, willing and accomplished employees we have,” Krocack said.

Phil Davis, president of Minneapolis Community & Technical College, one of Jeremiah’s long-time educational partners, talked about the increasing need to support non-traditional students like Angel, and Henry Wilde, co-founder of Acelero Learning and a Jeremiah Program national board member, emphasized the pressing need for holistic programs like Jeremiah.

Gloria Perez, President & CEO of Jeremiah Program, closed the event with a reminder that 18 million children in America are living in poverty with a single mother. Jeremiah receives calls weekly from communities across the country to talk about how to break the cycle of poverty for these young women. “As the organization prepares to open the first phase of a campus in Austin, TX, and to move forward with a campus in Fargo-Moorhead, we are grateful to Angel and the panelists for bringing to life the essence of our work,” Perez said. “As we share our two-generation strategy across the country, it is women like Angel who inspire us to make this program a reality in new communities.”

Alison Balan and Caroline Correia co-chaired the Community Conversation. Correia noted, “There are so many non-profits doing important work, but there are very, very few that have the measurable results that lead to a replicable national model. That is what is so exciting about Jeremiah Program.”

An independent return on investment analysis of Jeremiah Program, recently conducted by Wilder Research, is available here.

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