Getting our Babies to College 101

Getting our Babies to College 101

Jowan Smith

2017 Finalist
Educating for Tomorrow

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February 16, 2019

Jowan hosted her first 1,000 Ties event and produced a video with highlights from the event. Watch the video>

January 2019

WZAK honored Jowan as one of their 2019 Future History Makers: people giving back to our community today to shape our tomorrow.

See the article>

October 29, 2018

Jowan recently announced a new event that she anticipates being an annual affair: Getting Our Babies to College 101 Presents 1,000 Ties. According to a press release, “1,000 Ties will be an event where we will come together as a community to educate our young men not only how to tie their ties, but also other pertinent skills that young men should have if they expect to be successful in education and beyond. Some of these skills include proper verbal and non-verbal communication skills like proper hand shaking and making eye contact; how to put together an effective interview look; and how to research and choose a career; to just name a few. … Along with the teaching students to tie the ties, starting in October of 2018, there will be a community push for donations and collection of ties. We will have tie collecting bins set up at Patrick Henry School, Strowder’s Funeral Home, Good Fellas Barber Shop, Our Favorite Things II Boutique, and Zeta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. house.”

See the event flyer>

October 4, 2018

Jowan won $1,000 in the Urban League Growth Plan pitch competition last night. She is currently providing programming in five school districts and has a contract with the Lorain Correctional Institution. In collaboration with Rosie George of Edward Jones, Jowan will be increasing the dollar amount of her book scholarships this year. She is also training her first facilitator.

October 1, 2018

Jowan was featured by The Plain Dealer/ for her work. She discussed how she beat the odds and worked her way out of poverty and how she’s trying to help other families do the same through Getting Our Babies to College 101.

In the article, she shared, “I’m trying to break the generational cycle where parents are now empowered,” she said. “Where they really don’t know what they can do to help their child get into the right college or career.”

See the full article >

February 2, 2018

Jowan was highlighted in a The Plain Dealer/ piece featuring updates on her Getting Our Babies to College 101 project along with 2017 winner Jeremy Langham (Ironborne Brew Works).

See the full article >

December 8, 2017

As part of the fourth cohort of Jumpstart’s Core City: Cleveland Impact Program, Jowan Smith pitched her Getting Our Babies To College 101 and snagged a runner-up prize of $2,500. In her profile on the Core City website, she discusses the progress she’s made to date and her plans for expansion next year. Read more >

October 25, 2017

Today’s Family magazine featured Jowan’s work in helping families prepare their children for college. “Thinking about sending your kids to college can be stressful, overwhelming, scary, exciting, happy and sad –– all at once sometimes –– but parents can find support, resources and expert advice from Getting Our Babies to College 101.

Parents get peer-to-peer advice from Jowan Smith, founder of Getting Our Babies to College 101, through workshops and individual consultations.  She presents her workshop at churches, libraries, and community centers.  She has also partnered with a few local schools to present her strategy for post high school success.”

Read the full article >

September 27, 2017

Jowan Smith was selected to speak at WGBH EdForum: Supporting and Engaging Students in the Middle Grades in Boston, MA on September 27, 2017. She will discuss her “Getting Our Babies To College 101” program and share tips on how to help prepare students and parents for the college prep process starting in middle school.

According to their website, the event will feature “a dynamic mix of academic researchers, practitioners, and out-of-the-box stakeholders to present compelling, thought-provoking information, models, and impactful stories related to adult engagement in the adolescent years, with the goal of engaging public media professionals with this issue.”

Learn more >

September 8, 2017

Jowan Smith will be on Robyn Hill’s Elevations Radio Mind Healing Conversations this Sunday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m. EST.

During the one-hour show, entitled “Jowan Smith: Passion+ Perseverance= Power,” Jowan will discuss her personal story, health, daughter, and development of her business – and 2017 finalist pitch – Getting Our Babies To College 101.

Listeners can call in with questions. Elevations Radio will also broadcast the show on Facebook Live.

Learn more at

If you miss the show on Sunday, you can visit and watch it later.

September 5, 2017

Jowan Smith was one of five entrepreneurs selected to participate in the next cohort of JumpStart Inc.’s Core City Impact Program. According to Jumpstart’s website, the “12-week business assistance program is designed to drive economic impact in the city of Cleveland by helping individuals overcome obstacles to entrepreneurship through hands-on advising and industry-specific mentoring.”

The program is capped off with a pitch competition where participants have the opportunity to win up to $10,000 to advance their business and ideas.

Learn more >

February 2017

Jowan Smith wants to help parents, particularly those of low-income students, through the stress of getting their children to college by beginning to explore timelines, budgeting and other information in the eighth grade. Her pitch at Accelerate 2017 earned her $2,000 to help launch her project.

Since the event, Jowan has launced a website that helps families understand the importance of starting the college process in Eighth grade and to show parents how to navigate their way to as much free money for college as possible. She also was invited by Validity Sports and Enrichment, a local nonprofit that works with youth through sports and mentorship, to speak to parents of student athletes about helping increase their students chance of being scouted in early March 2017. She gave two workshops at Patrick Henry school in April 2017, and at the end of June 2017, she hosted a free workshop for parents and students. She hosted four workshops on August 9, 2017 at the Mayor’s Youth Summit. Jowan has also contracted with three Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools and is in negotiations with Shaker Heights schools.

Jowan was on WZAK on August 20, 2017 to spread the word about her work.

Learn more about Jowan’s work on her website, and by following Getting our Babies to College 101 on Facebook and Twitter.