Your Gift, My Hope
The journey of my life just started. My name is Jennifer Hernandez, and I won the 2012 United Planning Organization Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship. This scholarship has already made a big impact on my life.
I come from a low-income family and a savings account did not exist for me. Financially, I just knew that college was not an option. Things became more challenging when I became pregnant in high school. My senior year in high school was the most difficult. I was living on my own; supporting my daughter and me. I knew that I wouldn't have enough money for college; I barely had enough to make it through high school.
When I saw the UPO scholarship application, I knew that I had to apply. I met all the requirements, and it offered $10,000 for college. A couple of months later, I got a phone call saying that I had won the scholarship; I felt like my heart wanted to come out of my chest. I was so happy, and I knew that this scholarship was now going to make college an option.
Thanks to the UPO scholarship, my dreams of becoming a social worker are going to become a reality. When I became pregnant I met with social workers and they have helped me get back on my feet. I want to do the same thing for others and give back to the community. Without the 2012 UPO Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship, my dream wouldn't be a reality.
Be apart of the 5000 friends standing up for higher education. Click here to support UPO's mission in raising funds to for the educational dreams of low-income students in Washington, DC.
UPO NEXT STEPS YOUNG ADULT EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
"Some have endured hardship, tragedy, homelessness, bouts of depression and loss of family and friends. Yet it's not the tragedy that forms the essence of a great comeback. It's the tenacity, perseverance; will to win, and the triumph of the human spirit."
UPO Next Steps Program Manager
William Puller started his journey with UPO Next Steps in August 2012. Mr. Puller was consistent and dedicated throughout the program, he embraced the fact that he would have to climb the career ladder and learn his trade from placing himself among the best. UPO Next Steps is a comprehensive multiple service, intervention, workforce development program that facilitates the transition of youth in the foster care system into the labor market.
In October 2012, William received an internship at the family owned, Ben's Chilli Bowl Restaurant in Washington DC. Within 3 weeks he was hired as a full-time employee at Bens Chilli Bowl, and Bens Next Door Restaurant. Mr. Puller is praised as an "excellent" worker by his manager and co-workers; and is currently being mentored by the store owner. William is setting and accomplishing goals because he was given the opportunity to cultivate the greatness that's inside of him. Click here to read the full story.
Let's Talk Poverty
On Friday, November 9, 2012, in celebration of UPO's fifty years of service to Washington, DC as an anti-poverty organization, the UPO Inspire Foundation (Inspire) hosted "Facing Poverty", a public policy forum focusing on poverty issues effecting citizens in our Nation's capitol. Recently released US Census Bureau 2011 data on poverty stated that over 109,000 District of Columbia residents are living in poverty.
The forum's feature panelist was author, Peter Edelman discussing his book, "So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard To End Poverty in America". Rounding out the discussion were panelists Ed Lazere from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and Dr. Robert Brown, adjunct professor at Howard University in the Sociology and Anthropology department.
The rich discussion highlighted the effects of poverty. Attendees where encouraged to look deeper than what items should be placed on the agenda of poverty policy reform but harnessing the energy behind the community to push for the change that is needed. D'Angelo Henderson, an 11th grader from Cesar Chaves Public Charter School for Public Policy-Parkside Campus stated, "Poverty is something I experience today. I live with a family who receives food stamps, I hope for change.".