Nicole Lynn LewisFounder and CEO of Generation Hope Washington, DC Award Year: 2020
Nicole Lynn Lewis is the founder and CEO of Generation Hope, a nonprofit that surrounds motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive as they pursue their education. Generation Hope advocates for the nearly four million college students across the country who are parents. This group is disproportionately students of color and they face various systemic barriers to success. Nicole graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2003 as a teen mother who had overcome homelessness and a drug-infested environment to achieve the impossible. She was named a CNN Hero in 2014 and a recipient of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award, which recognizes grassroots organizations that are making a difference in the lives of women and children. Nicole is also a nationally known author and speaker. Her first book, Pregnant Girl, was released in 2021 by Beacon Press.
Nicole has used her award to provide training on systemic racism for students and parents of Generation Hope and across the country, assisting them in their own advocacy and educational/career journeys. She is also using her award to host a national prize competition for higher education institutions, both community colleges and four-year institutions, that are implementing innovative programs for students who are parents.
Following the release of her book Pregnant Girl, Nicole has been featured on several podcasts: EdSurge Podcast and Your Working Life. She also spoke with John Dickerson on C-SPAN Book TV to discuss the many systemic changes needed for young parents to have access to the supports needed for a successful future.