By Anica Padilla

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) — A group of teen moms in the metro area celebrated an important milestone this week — they graduated from high school. Seven of the 10 graduates completed their coursework at the beginning or during the height of COVID-19. It took a lot of hard work, but they got the help they needed from Hope House.

(credit: CBS)

The young women actually got to walk across the stage for a ceremony to receive their diplomas on Thursday.

“This graduation is incredibly special because a lot of these young ladies used COVID-19 as an opportunity to focus on their education and commit to graduating,” said Kendra Crispin, the High School & GED Coordinator at Hope House. “Rather than taking it as an opportunity to rest or recharge, these moms were working tirelessly around the clock to conquer a major step towards self-sufficiency while many others’ self-sufficiency and stability were in jeopardy.”

Typically, less half of teen moms graduate from high school. Hope House historically gets 84% of its participants through the program. Hope House provides one-on-one instruction and tutoring, free childcare and quiet space to take tests.

Teen moms earn their GED in an average of 8.5 weeks — even when they face extra challenges like Monica Gonzalez did.

“My oldest daughter was in the hospital and I knew I needed to graduate,” Monica said. “I had to stay strong to accomplish and finish my three last classes, and before she left the hospital I still finished and got my diploma.”

(credit: CBS)

Monica credits the staff, like her friend Ashley, with making sure she always had support and someone cheering her on. Monica is now studying to become a registered nurse.

Hope House officials say over 90% of their GED graduates move on to the College & Career program.

Hope House is metro-Denver’s only resource providing free self-sufficiency programs to parenting teen moms, including residential, high school & GED, and college and career programs.

Hope House Colorado’s Residential Program offers a safe, stable home for teen moms and their children who are participating in their programs and who have become homeless or are living in an unsafe environment. Their 12-bedroom home provides our moms up to a week of respite care, up to nine months of transitional housing or up to two years of comprehensive programming.

 

Anica Padilla

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