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College Internships that Make a World of Difference

Are you a college student looking for a gratifying internship? Consider Jeremiah Program. You will be surrounded by others who understand the value of education. We get how hard you are working to put yourself in the perfect place for success.

There are two spots open immediately for an office intern and social media intern at our Brownsville office.

Working for a small office like ours you will get hands-on experience, with opportunities to create and design projects that look great on your resume. Don’t settle for an internship where you make copies, file or stand out in the cold to hand out giveaways.

“This is a chance to join an early-stage nonprofit with great opportunities to excel,” said Shanice Smith-Branch, Jeremiah Program New York development manager. “Our office is ready to take chances and be change agents in the fight to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children. It’s a big ambition and we need revolutionary thinkers.”

You will have a flexible schedule, opportunity to network at events and company meetings and a stipend to cover travel expenses.

Check out the job descriptions and give us a call. We are fun and professional staff working to change the world, one family at a time.

Embrace Your Story; Guide Your Future

By Gloria Perez, Jeremiah Program President and CEO

I wake up each day with a tremendous sense of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is not something I’ve held my whole life, though I remember being coached to give thanks at the side of my bed when I was a little girl. My current gratitude practice is something that I’ve increasingly cultivated since I first came to Minnesota more than 35 years ago.

At the age of 18, I feared that if I stayed in San Antonio, steeped in an environment of an economically challenged neighborhood and a tight-knit family, I might never explore life possibilities. There were stories I believed about myself aside from the comfort in my identity as a Mexican-American Catholic girl from the Southside of San Antonio. There was more to who I could be in the world.

Tragic events and growth

When I was 4 years old, I was hit by a car. It was a traumatic experience for my family. My memories focus on two things: One, being very afraid before I went into surgery because they would not allow my mom to stay with me in the Emergency Room. Two, feeling very fortunate to be alive. I vividly remember people saying things like “She is so lucky to be alive!” or “God wasn’t ready to take her; she must have a very special purpose in life.” Regardless of what God intended, I believed the stories I was told.

At some level, even as a child, I believed my life had a purpose; I knew I was lucky to be alive and it influenced my view of myself.

When I was 10, my dad died of cancer. While my dad had been sick for a few years, his illness was not something that we talked about. But as you might imagine, my sisters and I sensed that something was wrong. Shortly before my dad died, he told me that things happen in life for reasons we cannot explain. He said it was not my place to question why things happen. He told me God has a plan. My job, he said, was to figure out my life’s purpose…God would take care of the rest.

Looking for direction

The subsequent five years were incredibly hard on our family and the harder things became the more I yearned to get away. My mother did her best to keep all of us on track but that is not what happened. Slowly but surely my sisters fell in with the wrong crowds and they ended up not continuing their education.

Being the youngest, my mom doubled-down to help me stay on track. She started attending night school and would take me with her to make sure I completed my homework. I loved being on a college campus and kept pondering “What was my life’s purpose?” It was that year of accompanying my mom to college that I decided I would go to college so that I could have a career in a helping profession.

Even though I started to feel like I might know my life’s purpose I was still focused on my shortcomings. Although I did fine academically, I was not on the starting team for basketball and I was not one of the cool kids. The story I told myself was that I was not smart, I was not athletic, and I was not cool.

I started to feel inadequate and insecure. The reality was irrelevant; what really mattered were the stories I told myself. Because I was not feeling good about myself, I started to make bad choices.

The summer before starting high school my mother gave me an incredible opportunity which turned my attitude around. I was a strong vocalist joined a co-ed music group at the local Catholic boy’s high school. At the end of the year the choir was going to tour Eastern Europe as part of a peace initiative through the school. My mom said if I was disciplined enough to maintain my grades, practice and earn money for the trip, she would let me go. So I applied myself in all areas and spent countless hours daydreaming about what life would be like after the trip.

My enthusiasm for what was possible started to overcome my insecurities. I started to create a new story about myself. I told myself that even though I was not good at sports or popular, I was cool in my own way because I was going to get to go to Europe with a group of high schoolers….and I was the youngest member of the group.

The trip was an amazing experience and it opened my eyes to a whole new world. While I thought I was poor compared to most of the kids at my school, when I saw the poverty in some of the villages in Romania and Bulgaria, I felt very fortunate to have my life. Not only did I have a loving family, but I also had running water, adequate housing and clothing, delicious Mexican food and I lived in a country that gave a voice to the people. The story I told myself was that I was very blessed. I was blessed to have a supportive mother, a good education and the opportunity to learn and grow.

While I was given these amazing opportunities, the other young people around me – my sisters, the neighbor kids, my cousins – were not experiencing the kind of success my parents, family, and teachers talked about.

The story I told myself is that there was something in my environment that obscured the hopes and dreams of people I admired. And from my vantage point, if they were feeling hopeless and resigned to an unfulfilled life, I too was at risk of losing hope. So I changed my environment to change my outcome.

The leap of faith

While I knew moving to Minnesota would be a culture shock, I told myself that I needed the physical distance from my home. I began attending the College of Saint Catherine in St. Paul. However, after leaving San Antonio, I sorely missed the Latino community.  It took me about a year to get connected into the Latino community in St. Paul. Before I knew it the elders and civic leaders were welcoming me, encouraging me to get involved and ultimately mentoring me.

Through volunteerism, academic pursuits and mentoring by community leaders, I learned: how to run a business, about community organizing, about the roots of systemic inequities and about how nonprofits work to improve the lives of people and communities.

Minnesota career

While I started my career as a small business owner, I kept volunteering and building my skills as a leader by joining boards in the community and being a member of civic groups. After getting married and having two children; and working more hours than I’d like to admit, my husband suggested that I consider a career change. I didn’t think anyone would consider me a viable candidate to run a nonprofit but I discovered that my business and civic experiences gave me transferable skills. In 1995 I was hired as the Executive Director of Casa de Esperanza, a domestic violence agency headquartered in St. Paul.

For me, it was a perfect fit because I had volunteered there over several years, beginning in college. Working with the women at Casa and being of service to families in crisis was an amazing growth opportunity and I loved the immersion in the Latino community.

In 1998 when I learned about the Jeremiah Program Executive Director position, I was awestruck by the ambitious mission and I felt a personal connection to the work. I loved that Jeremiah was focused on determined single mothers that want to go to college. If my mom had had support to go to college, after my dad died, she would have jumped at the opportunity to be mentored and supported.

Without a doubt, Jeremiah Program has been a place where I’ve learned some important leadership lessons. Jeremiah mothers come to Jeremiah with dreams and hopes. They believe they have a purpose. They push through their fear and extend their trust to Jeremiah staff and to an educational and work system that has not traditionally worked for them.

Jeremiah children are, by far, the most inspiring part of the work for me. When you meet a child, you can see their potential and inner beauty. I want to make sure all children have a solid foundation so they can be their best selves. I want all children to have stories about themselves that give them hope, strength, and resiliency.

What story do you tell yourself about your life’s purpose? While we cannot control what happens in the world around us, we can control our thoughts about ourselves and we can give meaning to the events around us.

 

 

Jeremiah Program Minneapolis-St. Paul Receives Otto Bremer Trust Grant

MINNEAPOLIS – December 27, 2018 – Jeremiah Program Minneapolis-St. Paul is pleased to announce it’s been awarded $40,000 for general operating expenses from the Otto Bremer Trust to increase social and economic mobility among families headed by low-income single mothers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.

“We are so grateful for the ongoing and longstanding support from the Otto Bremer Trust that continues to help families transform themselves out of generational poverty into prosperity two generations at a time,” said La Juana Whitmore, executive director of Jeremiah Program Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. “The commitment to the Minneapolis-St. Paul community from the Otto Bremer Trust continues to inspire us to move our mission forward.”

“Jeremiah Program continues to build on the success of its services and programming aimed at helping low-income mothers and their children to move beyond poverty and into a life of economic independence,” said Daniel C. Reardon, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “This is a model worth emulating and we’re pleased to be investing in the work they are doing in the region.”

About the Otto Bremer Trust

The Otto Bremer Trust (OBT), based in St. Paul, MN, is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $650 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin. Visit https://ottobremer.org.

About Jeremiah Program

Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time with limited government aid. Two-Generational – or 2Gen – programs uniquely focus on the whole family and achieve long-term, sustainable results. The approach has been proven to achieve significant educational, health and economic benefits for parents, children and communities.

Jeremiah Program operates nationally in both residential programs with integrated housing and early childhood services and non-residential programs where housing and early childhood education are provided through community partnerships. The organization is on a consistent growth path with its newest programs in Rochester, MN and Brooklyn, NY. Jeremiah Program also has a presence in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; and Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN.

Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead Receives Otto Bremer Trust Grant

Fargo, ND – December 27, 2018 – Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead is pleased to announce it’s been awarded $50,000 for general operating expenses from the Otto Bremer Trust to increase social and economic mobility among single-mother families living in poverty in Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Otto Bremer Trust for its support of programming at Jeremiah Program’s newest campus,” said Lonnie Pederson, executive director of Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead. “This generous gift will enable us to enhance the family services, coaching and outreach necessary to serve our single mothers and their children.”

“Jeremiah Program continues to build on the success of its services and programming aimed at helping low-income mothers and their children to move beyond poverty and into a life of economic independence,” said Daniel C. Reardon, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “This is a model worth emulating and we’re pleased to be investing in the work they are doing in the region.”

About the Otto Bremer Trust  
The Otto Bremer Trust (OBT), based in St. Paul, MN, is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $650 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin. Visit https://ottobremer.org.

About Jeremiah Program  
Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time with limited government aid. Two-Generational – or 2Gen – programs uniquely focus on the whole family and achieve long-term, sustainable results. The approach has been proven to achieve significant educational, health and economic benefits for parents, children and communities.
Jeremiah Program operates nationally in both residential programs with integrated housing and early childhood services and non-residential programs where housing and early childhood education are provided through community partnerships. The organization is on a consistent growth path with its newest programs in Rochester, MN and Brooklyn, NY. Jeremiah Program also has a presence in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; and Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN.

About Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead 
Jeremiah Program’s Fargo-Moorhead campus opened in January 2018. It features 20 furnished apartments designed to support single mothers, who are required to work part time or volunteer, attend college full time, and work toward a career-track education while participating Jeremiah Program’s weekly coaching and life skills classes. The ground floor of the campus also features a licensed early Child Development Center that can serve up to 52 children ages six weeks until starting kindergarten.

Jeremiah Program Rochester-SE MN Receives $475,000 from Otto Bremer Trust Grant

ROCHESTER – December 27, 2018 – Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast MN is pleased to announce it’s been awarded $475,000 ($400,000 capital and $75,000 general operating) from the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) to address issues of affordable housing, intergenerational poverty, and workforce development among families headed by low-income single mothers in southeastern Minnesota.

“The Otto Bremer Trust is a vital partner in bringing Jeremiah Program’s proven 2-Generation solution to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their young children to Southeast Minnesota,” said JoMarie Morris, executive director of Jeremiah Program Rochester–Southeast MN. “We are deeply grateful for Bremer’s $475,000 investment in our Rochester campus to provide a safe and affordable home for low-income single mothers and their children in our community to grow as parents, succeed as students, and prepare for career-track professions.”

“Jeremiah Program continues to build on the success of its services and programming aimed at helping low-income mothers and their children to move beyond poverty and into a life of economic independence,” said Daniel C. Reardon, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “This is a model worth emulating and we’re pleased to be investing in the work they are doing in the region.”

Funding will be applied to construct Jeremiah’s 64,836 square foot, 40-apartment campus and on-site Child Development Center (slated to open in 2020) and support programming/operations, which launched this September.

Previous OBT support was instrumental in Jeremiah Program’s early capacity-building activities in Rochester-SE MN. OBT investments helped staff build necessary partnerships to secure land for its building site; complete architectural sketches for the new campus; identify initial capital funding to finance the construction of the new facility; and inform and engage hundreds of Southeast Minnesota community members and organizations in collaboration, partnership, and as program volunteers.

Building on this important work, funding from OBT in 2018-2019 will be catalytic as Jeremiah engages its second and third cohort groups of single moms and their young children in 2019 and prepares to break ground in summer.

“Jeremiah Program is so fortunate to have a philanthropic partner in the Otto Bremer Trust,” said Community Board Chair, Elaine Case. “It will be through this partnership that lives are changed, our community is enhanced, and true social impact will be realized. Thank you to Otto Bremer for your consistent leadership and commitment in our community.”

About the Otto Bremer Trust  
The Otto Bremer Trust (OBT), based in St. Paul, MN, is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $650 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin. Visit https://ottobremer.org.

About Jeremiah Program  
Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time with limited government aid. Two-Generational – or 2Gen – programs uniquely focus on the whole family and achieve long-term, sustainable results. The approach has been proven to achieve significant educational, health and economic benefits for parents, children and communities.
Jeremiah Program operates nationally in both residential programs with integrated housing and early childhood services and non-residential programs where housing and early childhood education are provided through community partnerships. The organization is on a consistent growth path with its newest programs in Rochester, MN and Brooklyn, NY. Jeremiah Program also has a presence in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; and Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Jay

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Jay

Our next honoree in our Volunteer Spotlight Series is Jedediah “Jay” Baker. Jay is the President & Founder of Conduits of Change, a nonprofit organization that supports families to become self-sufficient and provides them with the necessary tools to navigate the waters of life. Jay has been our star when it comes to helping out with our community events. From supplying backpacks and school supplies for our Back to School Bash, to providing and serving meals around the holidays, Jay has gone above and beyond for our Jeremiah families.

How did you hear about Jeremiah Program?
A friend of mine, Ebonie, told me about Jeremiah Program. Our organization was looking for another place to bless those in need with backpacks and school supplies, for our annual Back-2-School Drive. So she called her friend, and gave my number to the person in charge of that specific area. I got a call and we went from there.

How long have you been volunteering at Jeremiah Program?
Since 2017, so this is my second year.

What do you love most about volunteering at Jeremiah Program?
Being a part of bringing some joy into the lives of the moms and their children. I truly enjoy playing with the kiddos, and seeing the hard work paying off that the moms put in.

Please share a favorite memory/funny story while volunteering.
At the Ice Cream Social, I really had a chance to interact with the families. Since I’m a jokester, I was really advertising the ice cream I was serving. And the moms and kiddos laughed at me all evening. Then some of the kiddos broke out in a dance contest! It was an awesome time!!

Please share a fun fact about you:

  1. I am a jokester and the life of the party!
  2. I went to the Grand Canyon in 2009, and can’t wait to get back there!
  3. I want to hike the Camino De Santiago

Thank you Jay for bringing so much joy to our Jeremiah families!

Why Supportive Housing Matters

Jeremiah Program is aiming to change the trajectory of single-mother families in the twin cities by providing five key program pillars designed to help families transform themselves from poverty to prosperity, two generations at a time. In our recent mailing you learned more about empowerment, Jeremiah’s 16-week pre-admissions course taken by single mothers. In this article we will highlight another pillar – safe and affordable housing.

One in four Minnesota households currently pay more than they can afford for housing, often forgoing other essentials like food or medicine in order to pay for housing costs. Homelessness is hard to track and often looks like couch hopping or staying with family members. Many of Minnesota’s homeless are children, who struggle with a myriad of issues related to homelessness: truancy, illness, increased exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences and more.

Many, though not all, Jeremiah families come from unreliable or unsafe housing situations. A few families come from shelters or have experienced long-term homelessness. All of the families at Jeremiah are living below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and regardless of their income, Jeremiah families only pay 30% of their income for rent on the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jeremiah campuses. This allows families the ability to afford food, clothing, daycare, books for school, and other necessities.

In conjunction with Jeremiah’s other pillars of support, providing housing to our families means they don’t need to worry about a safe place for their child to grow up or how to pay for their apartment. Moms can focus on their education and spending quality time with their children, and Jeremiah children, in turn, can have the childhoods they deserve.

You can help support safe and affordable housing for Jeremiah families. Please visit jeremiahprogram.org/givemsp and make your gift today.

Jeremiah Program Austin Launches Partnership with Child Inc, Support from Luci Baines Johnson

Ms. Johnson during her keynote address.

Jeremiah Program Austin and Child Inc have entered into a partnership to expand services at Jeremiah’s Child Development Center.
The partnership has allowed Jeremiah to open a classroom for toddlers aged 18-24 months and was initiated by a substantial gift from Luci Baines Johnson.

The partnership is aligned with Child Inc’s goal of establishing innovative collaborations with existing nonprofits to leverage Early Head Start resources, training and standards as well as to create additional access for quality early childhood development.

Ms. Johnson made her gift to honor the legacy of her father, President Johnson and his establishment of the national Head Start program in 1965. In celebration of Head Start Awareness Month and to launch the toddler classroom, the organizations hosted an Open House on October 12 at Jeremiah’s campus at 1200 Paul Teresa Saldana Street, and Ms. Johnson gave a brief keynote address and read to the children in the new classroom.

Shannon Moody, Jeremiah Program Austin Executive Director, Luci Baines Johnson, and Albert Black, Executive Director Child Inc.