A college challenge for teens with a parent in prison

WASHINGTON — A D.C. organization that runs yearly summer art camps to keep kids connected with their imprisoned dads is expanding its support system to help high school students navigate the college application process.

The facilitator of the inaugural Hope House D.C. College Challenge meeting, Thalia Bishop, told a small group of teens and parents that the routes to and through college aren’t always traditional.

“If it comes down to — I need to do community college for two years, for a year — that’s OK,” Bishop said.

Bishop shared her undergraduate collegiate journey, which she undertook as a young mother. She told the group it took her 10 years to complete her undergraduate studies. Bishop furthered her education even more and is now working on a doctorate in psychology.

A group of four girls — two seniors, a junior and a sophomore — attended the first of what will be monthly meetings this school year.

Sandwiches and chips covered the kitchen counter at Hope House. Large, fragrant homemade cookies the sizes of adult hand palms were perched on plates at the table where the teens and parents sat. The sweet-smelling disks — homemade by Hope House founder Carol Fennelly.

“We targeted a certain age group of young people: 10th, 11th and 12th-graders,” she said after the meeting ended.

Noting that there were no boys present she added: “I don’t know if maybe we didn’t have any boys that age or what — so we’ll have to find out where the boys were.”

“I applied to one college, I’ve been researching colleges,” said Tianna Durant, a senior who is already involved in the search process.

“I want to be a nurse,” said Quamesha Baker, a junior at Suitland High School. She wants helping senior citizens and children to be integral parts of her career path.

Hope House D.C.’s College Challenge group will meet again in November to discuss, search for and apply to scholarships.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up