WayFinders Program provides economic empowerment, academic engagement, and family enrichment, strengthening of family bonds and gives participants the tools they need to break the cycle of generational poverty. Staff members are still finalizing program details, but economic empowerment may come in the form of WayFinders Program scholarships, housing location assistance, monthly cash transfers, housing gap stipends, and subsidized transportation to make it easier to get to work.
We know that college students are more likely to succeed if they have ongoing academic support. That’s why the WayFinders Program offers tutoring, connects each parent with an academic success coach, and promotes the development of supportive peer relationships. Participants also have access to externships, professional networking opportunities, and work-study programs. To make it easier to access higher education, we also provide assistance with completing the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and connect participants with college recruiters as needed.
When single parents and their children lack access to comprehensive wellness resources, they may miss work or school due to illness or struggle with their mental health. That’s why the WayFinders Program also provides family enrichment and wellness services. Participating families have access to parent leadership training, wellness coaching, healthy lifestyle support and high-quality childcare. Pittsburgh Scholar House has also arranged for free admission to Gelfand Center, the Carnegie Museums, and other enrichment opportunities, giving participants the opportunity to expand their horizons and build social capital.
WayFinders Program is a new program, so we are eagerly awaiting our first graduates. That said, we expect the first cohort to have six to eight single parents focused on completing their two-year degrees and an additional four to six single parents focused on completing their four-year degrees. Currently, Pittsburgh Scholar House staff are focused on conducting surveys, focus groups, and interviews to finalize their programming decisions and come up with best practices for implementing the cohort model.
Pittsburgh Scholar House has partnered with local experts in human services, financial management, and other important topics, giving participants the opportunity to develop valuable life skills. As we learn more about each cohort’s needs, we may offer educational sessions on the following topics:
- Succeeding in college as a parent with family responsibilities
- Strategies for saving money
- Budgeting strategies
- Breaking the psychological chains of poverty
- Careers in technology, finance, and health care
- Stress management
- Being a good steward of financial resources
At Pittsburgh Scholar House, we believe that an uninterrupted poverty loop is the result of multiple factors, including trauma, codependence, poor health outcomes, and a lack of financial literacy. We aim to give participants a firmer financial foundation by teaching them to build social capital, providing educational opportunities to help them qualify for rewarding careers and offering access to family wellness resources that promote health equity and improve individual health outcomes.
We put participants on a wealth-building trajectory by educating them on financial management, teaching them how to budget effectively ,and promoting the benefits of consistent, systematic saving. The end result is improved cross-generational economic mobility and financial stability.