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Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset

College or Bust!

Jamie Barnes, College & Career Coordinator

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Understanding Addiction

Rachel Ash, Hope House of Colorado Program Staff

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The Power of Mindset

Ashley Seastone, GED Program Coordinator


Many of our teen moms start our GED Program with the preconceived idea that they are not smart.

Their parents, boyfriends and even teachers tell them they are not good enough, they are stupid, or they can’t do it. 

These messages are incredibly damaging to their confidence, outlook on school and ability to learn. And they create a fixed mindset. 

Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, has studied the power of mindset. She explains why it’s not just abilities and talents that bring success – outcomes depend on whether a person approaches their goals with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, anyone can improve their performance and reach their personal and professional goals. 

In her book, Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, Dweck writes, “The growth mindset lets people – even those who are targets of negative labels – use and develop their minds fully.”

The GED Program at Hope House of Colorado is unique because we offer one-on-one tutoring instead of the typical classroom setting. This allows our tutors to meet the students where they are at, focusing on areas that are difficult for them. 

This approach also allows our tutors and teen moms to form meaningful relationships. The teen moms feel more comfortable asking questions, suggesting ideas and even making mistakes when they aren’t in front of a large group. They build in confidence when they know their thoughts are valued. 

We give our girls the high expectation of earning their GED paired with positive messages of support and encouragement. It can take time, but the girls begin to change to a growth mindset. They start to believe in themselves and their ability to learn and successfully earn their GED.

Studying and passing the GED is not an easy task, and our teen moms still struggle. Yes, there are tests that aren’t passed. But to encourage a growth mindset, we value determination to succeed even when it’s difficult, perseverance after failed tests, and hard work. 

Earning a GED is a huge stepping stone for our teen moms who are working toward self-sufficiency; however, determination, perseverance and hard work is what will make them truly successful in the future as they move on to continuing education programs, future careers, and life in general.


What does a change in mindset look like?

Danielle’s story is, unfortunately, not unique or even rare.

“School isn’t for everyone.”  This seemingly harmless comment, made by one of her high school teachers, made a lasting and detrimental impact on Danielle as a young woman. 

The good news is that when Danielle came to our GED Program, she was full of determination. However, haunted by former experiences and comments, she lacked confidence in her abilities. She assumed she would be met at Hope House with the same passive teaching approach and doubts in her potential for success. Danielle was also extremely uncomfortable asking questions or for help when she needed it. With these dynamics in place, her learning process was very slow. 

However, motivated by her daughter and her desire to finish school, Danielle continued to come to class and felt a connection with one of our tutors. Soon she became more comfortable during their tutoring sessions and even asked the tutor if she would be her mentor. 

Changes were being made in how Danielle perceived herself. She was beginning to view herself as a student. She began to find joy in learning, and then she started passing tests. Some topics were more difficult than others, but she didn’t give up.

Today Danielle is a student who is confident in her capacity to learn and recall information for tests, her ability to critically read and identify important information, and her skills in reasoning why a particular answer makes sense. She encourages other teen moms in our GED Program to keep working hard, and shares that they, too, can succeed. 

While working toward her high school equivalency certification, Danielle’s growth mindset expanded to other areas of her life, and her diligence is paying off. She recently started working with career mentors to start her own photography business. Her teachable spirit as well as her willingness to listen to constructive criticism and then apply it to her work is helping her to succeed.

Danielle is an inspiration for the other girls in the program, a role model for her daughter, and a testament of working hard to accomplish your goals! And she is a powerful example of the power of mindset.

Danielle is one of my friends back from high school and just wanted to stop by and show her how happy I was for her?? She's such a strong woman and a wonderful example for her gorgeous baby girl (: I'm so so so proud of you Danni! Keep going the sky is the limit.
Caty love
Posted By Caty love  | 7/3/16 03:58 PM
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Blog Archives

January 2018

Organizational Growth Cycles: Stages that Lead to a Mature Nonprofit - 01/23/2018

November 2017

Knowledge Share #19: Creating Unity: The Power of Mealtime - 11/20/2017

October 2017

Knowledge Share #18: The Power of Networking - 10/12/2017

September 2017

Knowledge Share #18: Engaging the Millennial Generation - 09/19/2017

August 2017

Knowledge Share #17: When the Dream Seems Too Big - 08/17/2017

July 2017

Knowledge Share #16: Personalized Learning - The Cornerstone of our GED Program - 07/18/2017

June 2017

Knowledge Share #15: Special Needs and Special Moms - 06/08/2017

April 2017

Knowledge Share #14: Creating Connections through Children - 04/18/2017

March 2017

Knowledge Share #13: Managing Volunteers: Benjamin Franklin had it right! - 03/13/2017

February 2017

Knowledge Share #12: Advocacy and Self-Sufficiency: Finding the Balance - 02/14/2017

January 2017

Knowledge Share #11: Effective PR and Spot On Communications - 01/18/2017

November 2016

Knowledge Share #10: I Walk the Line: Creating Deep Connections While Maintaining Professional Boundaries - 11/15/2016

September 2016

Knowledge Share #9: "Fundraising for Non-Profits: An Insider's Perspective" - 09/22/2016

August 2016

Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016

July 2016

Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016

June 2016

Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016

May 2016

Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016

April 2016

Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016

March 2016

Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016

February 2016

Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016

January 2016

Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016

December 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015

October 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015

July 2015


June 2015

Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015

May 2015

Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015

April 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #3: The Unexpected Bill: Car Repair, Doctor's Visit, Broken Pipe - 04/03/2015

February 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015

January 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015

December 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #7: Teen Moms Are Completely Self-Absorbed - 12/29/2014

October 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #6: Teen moms drop out of school because they want to - 10/31/2014

September 2014

Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014

July 2014

Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach - 07/22/2014

June 2014

Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014

May 2014

Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014

April 2014

Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014

March 2014

Connecting across the Continents: Teen Moms and the People Who Love Them - 03/18/2014

February 2014

Can you break out of poverty with a vocabulary of just 900 words? - 02/17/2014

January 2014

Community - 01/20/2014

December 2013

8 Pennies - 12/18/2013

November 2013

"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013

September 2013

Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013

August 2013

The Cliff Effect and Other Perils on the Journey to Self-Sufficiency - 08/30/2013

July 2013

Breaking the Cycle: Do Poor Teens Have to Become Poor Adults? - 07/30/2013

June 2013

Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013

May 2013

Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013


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Kristina Shade said: Laura, you are such a blessing in our daughter and grandson's life. I remember Kyra coming home ea ...   [more]

Knowledge Share #14: Creating Connections through Children
Kristina Shade said: Laura, you are such a blessing in our daughter and grandson's life. I remember Kyra coming home each ...   [more]

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