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Monday, June 25, 2012

Only 2% Make It - We Can Help

Amayah is a teen mom
headed off to college this fall

She came to the US five years ago, when she was about 12. She made her way through a new country, culture, school system, and more. Now she's headed off to Southern Illinois University in the fall, full of promise and expectations.

The American Dream: believing in yourself; overcoming expectations and obstacles; succeeding through hard work. Amayah is all that, and more.

Amayah is also a teen mom. She's nothing like the flashy and combative young moms we see on reality TV. She’s the real deal - the young woman who had a child at 16, kept on going to school, is graduating and is heading to college without missing a beat. She's got her future in clear focus, and she's got her baby's future in mind as well - a balancing act that many parents decades older than Amayah have not mastered.

Right now, though -- this is when it gets hard. Amayah has challenges to face as she heads off to college that the other young students won't be burdened by. She'll need to find housing suitable to a small family, child care, and time to cook for, read to, play with, and care for her child. She'll have to plan her course schedule and her study groups around her child's timetable and then there will be other things that crop up - a babysitter bailing, her child getting a fever, or the stroller refusing to open.

Amayah is asking the Benevolent community for help with one singular challenge: for help paying her housing deposit and getting her apartment set up for herself and her child. I hope we'll meet this challenge and step up for Amayah. More importantly, I hope we'll be able to jump back in future years if another big challenge pops up. Maybe create a community of support just for Amayah. 

On average, about half of all teen moms finish high school. Another 15% will get their GED by the time they're 22. Only two percent - 2% - of teen moms complete college by the time they're 30. Those are ridiculously long odds. 

Let's step up, step in and become a part of Amayah's story, and let's hang out there for a while to keep an eye on her success and be there when she needs us.

Who's in?

- megan kashner, founder & CEO

Monday, June 11, 2012

Paying Forward for Dad this Father's Day

A Father’s Day Card for my Dad


I stink at these holidays. I generally fail to send a card, so I wind up calling you on the phone late in the day. I’m a failure at holiday-invoked expressions of feeling. So this year, I’m taking a different tack and amplifying my Father’s Day message out into the public domain. You’ll either love it or be mortified.

Thank you. There is no way to effectively repay or adequately honor all that you’ve done for me over the course of time. From before I was born, you were planning for my security and my future. All my life  you’ve believed in me, supported my dreams, picked me up when I fell, stood up for me, run interference, and never flagged in your ardent belief in me. You haven’t always understood my choices or even the specifics of my career, but you’ve been in my corner, always.

I know I’m not the only one with a dad as great as you, but you’re mine and I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world. You’re the one I argue with most in the world and you’re the one whose opinion I value. We often disagree, coming at things from opposite sides of the equation and opposite sides of the brain. Let’s never stop that.

I know too well that not everyone has the benefit of a dad like you, so this Father’s Day, I’m going to honor you by paying forward the fierce belief you have in your children.  I’m going to help someone else who needs to know that someone’s in her corner and supporting her dreams. 

As a tribute to you, I’m going to contribute to help meet Jean’s need. I feel compelled to help Jean because as a single mom she’s striving to be a nurse, and what’s holding her back is so basic – she needs special contacts to manage her eye condition just so she can see to study. I was a medical mess when I was young – glasses, braces, a back brace for scoliosis – and you shelled out a bunch for all those things and never, never made me feel that  it was difficult or an imposition. Now that I’m a parent and paying for braces and sports and supplies, I see how difficult it really is.

So, this Father’s Day, your parenting extends beyond me, through me, and on to Jean. She can use some of your brand of belief and support right now, and we’ll help her together.

- megan kashner, founder & ceo, daughter of howard kashner

To pay it forward in honor of your Dad this Father's Day:

1) Contribute to any need on the Benevolent.net site 
2) Send us a quick email to dad@benevolent.net and let us know:
  - your dad's name, 
  - his email address (or snail mail address if you'd rather we send a card), and 
  - a note you'd like us to include to your Dad with the note he receives from us letting him know you've made a gift in his name.