Community Colleges Can Help Parenting Students Succeed by Creating Supportive, Welcoming Environments

About the Expanding Opportunities for Young Families initiative

Expanding Opportunities for Young Families (EOYF) is a multiyear, two-generation initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to support young parenting students and their children. The initiative is led by three sites (Austin, TX, Miami, FL, and Santa Fe, NM) that are collaborations between local community colleges and community partners that provide resources, advising, and wrap-around services to young parents (including financial, academic, and workforce supports and health care and housing services). Each site uses navigation services to help young parents access community and college resources. EOYF sites largely serve young parenting students of color, particularly Hispanic students.

The EOYF approach is centered on equity by giving young families what they need and want to enjoy full, healthy, and happy lives, and to eliminate disparities in outcomes. EOYF sites center student voice and emphasize equity in program design and delivery by co-designing programs with young parents, striving to serve the young parents who most need support, and taking individualized approaches to meet students where they are.

Our insights here reflect the experiences, knowledge, and ideas shared during the past three years by young parents, EOYF site leads and staff, community college leaders, community partner organizations, and the Casey Foundation. In particular, we are grateful to parenting student leaders Andromeda Vega, Christel Paradowski, Sebastian Alvarez, and Yoselin Cordova, and EOYF site leads Becca Bice, Annmarie McLaughlin, and Stephanie Rivera Silva for sharing their thoughts and experiences, especially during the recent virtual summit.

Community Colleges Can Help Parenting Students Succeed by Creating Supportive, Welcoming Environments