• Engage: #2Gen

Two generations. One future.

On Our Blog

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

Mr. Scruggs Goes to Washington

I recently gave a talk at the LISC National Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas, alongside community development leaders from across the country to inspire, motivate, and energize practitioners in the field–stories about people who are activists, advocates, and ambassadors for positive transformation in their communities. I shared a story about how Mississippi County, Arkansas, Economic Opportunity Commission (MCAEOC), led by a visionary man named Sam Scruggs, increased prosperity for residents committed to creating a brighter future for themselves.  morenext

It’s Time for a Paradigm Shift in Head Start

Last week the Office of Head Start released the much anticipated revision of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (standards). This is the first comprehensive revision of the standards since they were first released in 1975. These revised standards represent an opportunity for a paradigm shift in how Head Start services are designed and implemented for the most vulnerable children and families in this country.   morenext

Expanding the Potential of 2Gen Programs – 3 Ideas for Funders

Top three ideas for funders seeking to bring a 2Gen lens to their work.  morenext

Becoming 2Gen: Ascend Network Partners Respond

Ascend Network Partners have consistently demonstrated that organizations can make much progress towards serving whole families, often simply by working creatively with the resources and relationships that are currently available to them. In this blog series, Network Partners share their stories and the steps they took in becoming more 2Gen.  morenext

Me and My Posse

Leaders running two-generation programs often use cohort models to build upon the resilience of families and provide families with a running start on achieving their goals.  morenext

Keys to Degrees and Two Generations of Success

My journey as a student parent started just over four years ago when I had my daughter, Saffy, in the fall of my senior year of high school.  morenext

Who created International Women’s Day?

Here's a little lesson in women's history for you: While International Women's Day was originally inspired by women garment and needle workers who marched in New York City in the 19th and early 20th century, the woman to suggest that such a day exist was from an entirely different continent.   morenext

Every day is International Women’s Day

Yesterday, we plotted, celebrated, and strategized on the future for women's rights and economic justice. Today, we want to make sure to continue the conversation -- because after all, every day is International Women's Day.  morenext

Drawing out connections across oceans

Too often, conversations about women’s issue that take place stateside are separated into two distinct camps—those that affect people in the United States, and those that affect people in every other country on the planet (as if it were still Pangea!).   morenext

What progress have we actually made? A pie chart experiment

Last night's dynamic panel was swimming around in my head as I fell asleep. Then, I woke up with this pie chart in my head.  morenext

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