New York, NY — Jeremiah Program, a national nonprofit with a proven model to disrupt cycles of poverty for single mothers and their children two generations at a time, today announced the Jeremiah Program Alumni Fellowship program. This innovative leadership program and network of Jeremiah Program graduates will ensure that the voices of single mothers are included in determining the organization's programs and policy agenda. The first-ever cohort of fellows includes 13 mothers representing five Jeremiah Program campuses.
The Jeremiah Program Fellowship is designed to ensure that alumni have the tools and the social capital to be at the tables where decisions are made that impact their lives, and the lives of countless other families like theirs - all too often without anyone with that lived experience in the room.
"Proximity matters," said Chastity Lord, President, and CEO, Jeremiah Program. "The disparities between women in poverty and their more affluent peers can only be dismantled by aggressive investment in women closest to the challenges we are trying to solve. Single mothers can serve as key bridge-builders between decision-makers and communities, designing solutions to the challenges they experience as individuals and helping scale those solutions to meet the needs of their families and broader communities."
The Fellowship is a 12-month, selective, cohort-based program. Feedback and data from the fellows – women who have faced multiple social and economic barriers and experienced overlapping oppressions – will inform Jeremiah Program's best practices for helping parents and children break the cycle of systemic poverty, two generations at a time.
"Jeremiah Program moms are superheroes – they have successfully raised children alone and overcome poverty," said Lord. "The women we serve are often stigmatized, overlooked, and underinvested in. It's time to step aside and give single mothers the mic and the pen to author agendas that will disrupt generational poverty – this new program will help accomplish just that."
The 2021 cohort of 13 fellows emerged through a rigorous review process of 54 nominations involving the national governing board's community board of trustees, Jeremiah Program staff members, community leaders, and current participants. The group represents graduates from five campuses with departure dates between 2002 and 2020. As part of the Fellowship, alumni will receive compensation, organizational training, networking opportunities, and hone their leadership abilities.
Angelina Kery is a legal assistant, 2019 graduate of Jeremiah Program's Boston campus, and part of the 2021 cohort: "I am honored to be able to share my life experience with other women and help Jeremiah Program moms on their own path to success. My goal is to mentor and support single mothers and help them maintain financial stability throughout the pandemic."
"In the midst of COVID-19, single mothers are struggling more than ever before. The gaps in our education, healthcare, and childcare systems have never been more evident. Jeremiah Program is committed to helping our mothers share their stories and facilitate them to empower others in the process. Solutions-oriented conversations are necessary to help affect systemic poverty," added Lord.