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.
The young women actually got to walk across the stage for a ceremony to receive their diplomas on Thursday.READ MORE: Pediatrician Drawing Support For Push To Get Students Back In The Classroom
“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.”READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis Envisions A 'Very Close To Normal' Summer
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.MORE NEWS: Aurora City Council Questions Panelists About Elijah McClain Independent Review