Family Life, Things To Do

Generation Hope

Nicole Lynn Lewis is the CEO of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization set on helping young parents find success by bettering their access to resources and proper support through a variety of means.

Lewis herself was a teen mom, so she knows the struggle of balancing being a new parent with needing to succeed both to survive and to thrive. During her senior year of high school, Lewis discovered she was pregnant while receiving acceptance letters to colleges and universities. Though this discovery led to a very difficult future to navigate through, she was determined to find her way through.

“I ended up taking a year off from school, and it was one of the most difficult times of my life. I was homeless for periods of time, and I was in a really tumultuous relationship with my daughter’s father. We didn’t have food to eat or places to sleep at night sometimes. Nothing about my life said ‘college,’ but in the midst of all that, I applied to college to try to work towards that goal of being a college graduate, even as a young mother,” shares Lewis.

Through her own strength and tenacity, she was accepted into The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated in four years with high honors.

After her educational pursuits, Lewis knew she could use her life experiences to help others, and it soon became apparent that there were lots of struggling youth in need of resources and guidance. Unfortunately, statistics prove time and time again that the odds are stacked against young parents, with Generation Hope noting in their mission statement that “fewer than 2 percent of teen mothers earn a college degree before age 30, and more than half of all parenting college students leave school without a degree.” In order to combat these statistics, she founded Generation Hope in Washington, D.C.

As Generation Hope grew and became deeply rooted in the D.C. area, Lewis knew that it was likely her nonprofit would expand into new cities, and this was recently achieved as it expanded into New Orleans where they offer young parents a chance to join The New Orleans Scholar Program. This program provides a variety of services including mentoring, tuition assistance, a sense of community through gatherings of peers, and other support-based services to help participants achieve their college graduation goals.

The scholar program as a whole follows a holistic model meant to combat the two biggest barriers for young people to tackle if they want to be college graduates: lack of financial support and lack of emotional support. To help solve these issues, the nonprofit provides up to $2,400 a year in tuition assistance to each of its scholars and an emergency fund allows Generation Hope to relieve those in a housing crisis, not having enough money for groceries, or those facing domestic violence incidents.

On top of funding, Generation Hope accepts donations of tangible items like diapers, laptop computers, gas cards, and other helpful items that help relieve the financial burdens of being a parenting college student. An Adopt-A-Family program put on during the holiday season allows volunteers to provide gifts to these families in need and really makes the season that much
more magical.

For career-based needs, the organization makes sure scholars have opportunities to apply for internships, network, and pad their resumes all to allow them the best chance to find family-sustaining careers.

In the future, the nonprofit hopes to kick off its Next Generation Academy, an early education program that benefits the children of their scholars.

“This is a home-visiting program where we come into the home, we do developmental assessments, screenings, and really provide information and skill-building for our scholars to be their children’s first teacher by bringing books into the home and setting goals for their children to work towards and achieve those goals together,” says Lewis.

Interested in getting involved or know someone who might benefit from joining Generation Hope? Visit for more information.

This article was originally published in August 2023.

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