The Foundation of HOPE (Helping Others Prosper & Excel) has much to celebrate. In June, four girls, all students from Easton Middle School, graduated from their Economic Development and Empowerment Program. The program is the brainchild of Foundation of HOPE founder and facilitator, Keasha Haythe.
Over the course of 16 weeks, the girls studied such varied topics as self-care, bullying, public speaking, job readiness, business development, and more. They had guest speakers who taught some of the lessons and even did a group mosaic project with local artist Jen Wagner. At the end of the session, they were assigned a final project to create a vision board, which they then presented in front of family, friends, and members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors at their graduation ceremony.
Congratulations to Maliea Davis, who aspires to pursue music and art, and hopes to attend college at Morgan State University; Kaniyah Stanford, who wants to excel in sports, attend college at LSU, and join the armed forces; Londyn Thomas, who dreams of becoming a cosmetologist and hopes to see the world; and Brooklynn Thomas-Young, who has her sights on going to college and traveling.
When asked what they learned in the program, all the girls had much to say. Brooklynn put it most succinctly when she shared, “I learned how to pay bills, how hard life really is and most importantly how to love myself.”
The Foundation of HOPE keeps in touch with its program graduates through middle and high school and is available to provide any support they may need as they work to attain their goals.
The very first Economic Development and Empowerment Program cohort, who completed the program in 2017, graduated from high school in May – another cause for celebration. All six of the young women who participated in the inaugural Foundation of HOPE class are moving on to college or vocational training.
Maya Hawkins-Bailey is headed to Chesapeake College in the fall to study Criminal Justice. Ja’Kyra Ware will also be attending Chesapeake College in the fall and plans to become a Sports Journalist. Maretta Walker will be taking a gap year and then studying the culinary arts. Amorie Blake is applying to the Chesapeake College Radiology Program. Ashley Vargas is excited to follow her passion for beauty and hair in Cosmetology School. Lilyanna Dupont starts at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut this fall and will be working to become a Secondary Math Teacher.
Lilyanna also has the distinction of being the first Foundation of HOPE graduate to be awarded a college scholarship from the Foundation. She will receive $500 per year toward tuition during her four years of school, for a total of $2,000.
“I am so incredibly proud of these young ladies,” says Keasha. “With all the distractions and pressures that they face every day, they really committed to this program, and with the successes that our high school graduates have achieved, we can see that they are applying everything they learned when they were with us. Our goal is to show our girls that with hard work and dedication, nothing is off limits to them. I can’t wait to watch their next chapter and see how they continue to grow.”
The Foundation of HOPE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young girls and women lead productive lives in their communities by providing cultural, social, spiritual, and educational development. The program serves girls in sixth grade attending middle school, with a goal of teaching them to be viable contributors to the future workforce. The program covers topics including addressing low self-esteem, bullying, social media, workforce development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and more.
The Foundation is currently raising money to build the HOPE Center, which will be located in Easton and will provide services and programming for the entire Easton community. To learn more, register a child, or make a donation, visit FoundationfHopeMaryland.org.