Rhode Island has been awarded a competitive federal grant for
$1.75 million over two years to improve educational, social, and health outcomes among
expectant and parenting teens and college students. With this funding from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health, the West
Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and the Rhode Island Department of Health
plan to serve 300 expectant and parenting teens and students 15 to 25 years old as
they work to succeed in high school and college. Rhode Island was awarded one of seven
new grants nationally through the federal Pregnancy Assistance Fund program.
“This comprehensive, multi-generational approach to supporting
expectant teens and young families will be a critical part of our work at the Rhode
Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to give all families and all communities in every
ZIP code in Rhode Island the support they need to thrive,” said Director of Health Nicole
Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “Despite all the money we invest in medical interventions,
our health outcomes are overwhelmingly determined by community level factors such as
education, access to job opportunities, and social support. Community-focused
initiatives such as this will help us continue to narrow health disparities and build a
healthier state for all.”
Sharon Conard Wells, Executive Director at West Elmwood Housing,
noted “this grant represents an important opportunity for young families as we work
to help more young parents access and succeed in college. This work also helps our
partnership advance its vision to build a new learning community where young families
strive together to achieve their educational aspirations and establish a
multi-generational legacy of prosperity”.
approach to supporting pregnant and parenting students, who are a growing population
within our institutions, and nationwide,” said Dr. Brenda Dann Messier, Rhode Island
Commissioner of Post-Secondary Education. “This partnership with West Elmwood Housing
and the RI Department of Health will help us as a system better support the
success of these students, and advance our progress in reaching RI’s ambitious
attainment and equity goals.”
work in close collaboration with the RI Office of the Postsecondary
Commissioner, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, and other State and community-based
partners to establish the new Dunamis Synergy initiative. Services will be
provided in academic settings at the Nowell Leadership Academy, the Community College
of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Roger Williams University. Services
will also be provided in the community at the Providence Housing Authority’s Codding Court
development and at the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation.
connects young parents and their children to the resources they need to accomplish their
goals. Families will access services to support high school and post-secondary
completion and to promote health and wellbeing, early learning, stable affordable housing,
financial literacy, and economic stability.
Sojourner House, and the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center to provide intervention,
advocacy, and support services to pregnant women and new mothers who are victims of
domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
funding from, the United Way of Rhode Island, NeighhborWorks America, and Housing
Ministries of New England, and worked closely with RIDOH to develop the proposal.
Nationally, 26% of undergraduate students are parents and 32% of students at public
community colleges are unmarried parents. With the challenges of parenting, work, and
school, only 5% of unmarried student parents can be expected to graduate within six years.
Additional Information Contact:
Conard Wells, Executive Director, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation.
Ph: 401- 453-3220, Email: email@example.com