For many single moms, the dream of going to college is incredibly difficult to achieve, Balancing child care and school and work can seem like a monumental task.
“My goal always during high school was to go to college,” said Erika Rodriguez, but that goal was easier said than done.
After taking a break from school, Rodriguez started a family, but still held onto that dream of higher education. She just needed some help.
“I was doing it alone, I did have the help of my mom and we lived with my mom, but it was still hard because it was three of them and I was pregnant.”
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She learned about Jeremiah Program in Boston. It’s a national nonprofit that's been in the city for six years.
“We try to provide an array of support to moms to drive college persistence and to ensure their children are college bound as well,” said Executive Director Alison Carter Marlow. She showed us the organization’s new space on Appleton St. in Boston’s South End. It has enough room for moms to bring their kids along.
“Every single Jeremiah mom is paired with one of our family coaches. They goal set, they troubleshoot obstacles, they talk about FAFSA and financial aid.”
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Right now, they serve about 200 moms and kids. Eligible women must be single, have at least one child 10 or under and have a GED or a diploma. And of course, determination, but Alison said that’s a given.
“Someone has got to come beside these women and say, you have all the skills you need to do this. You're already raising your children. You're doing the best you could you got through COVID successfully. If you take that persistence, that grit, that maturity, that ethic, and you will apply it you can actually win something for yourself.”
Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Duet and Southern New Hampshire University and now works for a nonprofit that helps families. She also gained a sisterhood of friendships that remain with her to this day. “We're all moms single moms get trying to get somewhere and this other one realizing for our children, so it was great.”
Mothers in the Jeremiah Program Boston are enrolled at colleges all over the region… and many at schools that offer remote learning.
They recruit mothers four times a year - next up is April.