• Engage: #2Gen

Two generations. One future.

On Our Blog

The ROI that Matters: Investing in Kids and Families to Build a New Economy

This year at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Ascend hosted a session with Jackie Bezos, president and CEO of the Bezos Family Foundation, and Nobel Memorial Prize Winner in Economics Dr. James Heckman entitled The ROI that Matters: Investing in Kids and Families to Build a New Economy.   morenext

The New Mental Health Models: Stress-Reduction and Beyond

On Friday, July 14, a group of 18 thought leaders and experts came together for a strategic conversation at the Aspen Institute’s Washington office on recent research and on-the-ground interventions regarding mental health supports and interventions for families with low incomes. The Ascend Strategic Conversation on Maternal Depression and Positive Parenting is part of an ongoing partnership with the Ford Foundation to increase understanding about and support for positive parenting interventions.  morenext

You’re the Mom: Empowering Moms to Make Healthy Eating Fun & Easy

At ChildObesity180, we believe that effective intergenerational programming calls for a commitment to helping parents and kids build healthy habits. So much of that work starts with making healthy food and drink choices, but, with over one-third of kids in the US eating fast food every day, it’s not always easy to make the healthy choice.  morenext

Footwork of the Ascend Network to Spur Impact

Social capital extends beyond the personal relationships we have with our friends and family, and includes our institutional relationships as well. This web of connections among institutions helps children and families thrive, regardless of economic background. It’s this vital network of supports that is a crucial component of the two-generation field. At Ascend at the Aspen Institute, social capital is both developed within and leveraged by the Ascend Network.   morenext

Success lies in 2Gen

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2Gen Practice Institute Takeaways: Parent Engagement At Every Level

One of my main takeaways from Ascend at Tulsa was how to engage parents and give their voice meaning at every level of an organization. I was also fortunate to have a parent representative from my organization, Luz Marrow, attend the conference as well.  morenext

2Gen Practice Institute Takeaways: Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc

This past April, I had the honor of attending a convening at the Aspen Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where 2Gen (two-generation) practitioners came together and engaged in a captivating two and 1/2 day learning experience: “Learning Strategies and Advancing my Knowledge of 2gen Approaches.”  morenext

Forging Ahead: The 2Gen Practice Institute

In his essay, “Walking with the Wind,” congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis tells the story of a powerful storm that tore through his aunt’s home while four-year-old Lewis, his siblings, and cousins where inside. At the behest of his aunt, young Lewis joined hands with more than a dozen of his cousins to move towards the corners of the house that threatened to come apart, keeping the structure down with their weight and leaving much of it intact. The experience came back to Lewis throughout the turbulence of the 1960s, reminding him of the “people of conscience”—leaders, policymakers, activists, and others—who gave everything in pursuit of dignity, equality, and civil rights for their communities.  morenext

Debrief: Whole Family 2Gen Approach Kickoff Meeting

On Monday, April 3rd the Dakota County Department of Community Corrections hosted their first Whole Family 2GEN Approach Kickoff meeting in Hastings, Minnesota. The convening brought together over 25 staff, consisting of corrections officers, case managers, supervisors and directors primarily from the juvenile division. The staff that came together had an impressive 562 years of combined experience in corrections.   morenext

Mississippi’s Gen+ Approach

We have all heard and seen the statistics in Mississippi – the state ranks 51st in percentage of children living in poverty, highest in poverty rates and people with the lowest incomes, and 50th based on overall measures of human capital*. The numbers don’t paint a great picture, but Mississippi is working hard to lift the families with the lowest incomes out of poverty and improve the state’s prospects for success.   morenext

I Am More Than a Number

I come from a multi-generational household. I was raised by my grandmother, who also raised her kids, her kids' kids, her kids' kids' kids, and their kids. We all grew up in a poverty-stricken environment. We were lucky to get one meal a day. Every day was a struggle. When my grandmother died, I had no choice but to go and live with my mother, who was an alcoholic and addicted to crack-cocaine. I no longer had a strong person to guide me or teach me how to be successful. As a result, I started looking for love in all the wrong places.  morenext

Family Literacy—An Essential 2-Gen Strategy

Family literacy is a critical instructional approach for providing intergenerational programming within the context of the family. It can be used as a vehicle for developing literacy, leadership, multicultural understanding, and self-efficacy. Despite the demise of Even Start, a small, yet vibrant community of family literacy programs continues to provide educational opportunities and supports to families that may not otherwise have access to them.   morenext

Ascend Fellow testifies before U.S. House

Yesterday, Ascend Fellow Steven Dow testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.   morenext

The Balancing Act

I am a first generation American and a first generation college student. Growing up, I was mainly raised by my mother. I had a step-father, but he was only around to keep a roof over our head. We never had a strong relationship. Not having a strong male figure in my life really affected me. As a kid I was incredibly shy and had low self-esteem. So, when I became a young adult, I promised myself that I would be not only a physical, but also an emotional presence in my kids’ lives.  morenext

How Head Start Took Me From the Couch to College

When I was 21, I gave birth to my first child Tre’Vaughn. At the time I was working 2 jobs to support him. 8 months after I gave birth, Tre’Vaughn passed away from SIDS. When he died, I became depressed and hopeless and as a result, I lost both of my jobs. Months later I had my second son, Zion. I knew in order for him to be successful he needed to go to a quality pre-school, but I had so much trouble letting him out of my sight.  morenext

Signals of Support Make a Difference for Parents on Campus

Like most parents, I just want what’s best for my children. When my oldest daughter Lennon was two and a half years old, I was working at Baby Gap just so I could get the great 50 percent discount on the clothes. But I realized that I wanted more for her and for myself.   morenext

2Gen from the Inside Out: Mental Health and Expressive Arts at Visible Men Academy

Monique used to walk into Visible Men Academy (VMA) with her head down, avoiding eye contact as she dropped off her two grandsons. Every day, she would enter the building looking disheveled and defeated. She spoke softly, but with an irritable and slightly hostile tone towards our front desk team.  morenext

Three Things We Know Work for Children and Families

People across the country are wondering what the next years will mean for their children, families, and communities. While these are complicated times, we should take heart in the fact that there are resilient and passionate leaders across the country who are raring to go for the well-being of America’s families.   morenext

Statement on Immigration Executive Order: Leaders Warn it Will Hurt Low-Income Families

The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the undersigned members of the 2015 class of Ascend Fellows and don’t necessarily represent the views of the Aspen Institute. Ascend Fellows are entrepreneurial leaders with the vision to advance the educational success, economic security, and health and well-being of children and families.   morenext

Transcend Politics: Keep Children and Families at the Center

We opened this week with millions of Americans honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and we will close the week with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. A dramatically different political, policy and power environment emerges with the incoming Trump Administration, one-party control of Congress, and increased Republican majorities at the state levels.  morenext

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