Dr. Franciamore was able to channel her education into a jumping off point to change her world.
As part of the “Change Your World” series, in partnership with Walden University, GOOD spoke to Dr. Nnenna Franciamore about her career, her education, and the powerful way it has shaped her life and her community.
The power of education is often underestimated and its influence taken for granted. However, if one really stops to think about the ripple effect of education—the impact it has not only on the individual pursuing it, but also the greater community who benefits from a more educated populace—the power is pretty mind-blowing. For Dr. Nnenna Franciamore, the experience of receiving her advanced degree transformed her life, and, in turn, empowered her to better the lives of people in her community.
When Dr. Franciamore began her graduate work, she was a mother of one and realized that she needed to pursue her education at a school that offered a curriculum that would both advance her career goals and accommodating enough so her family commitments didn’t suffer. “I needed the flexibility to raise my young child while pursuing a doctorate degree in education,” she says. She chose Walden not only because it offered online programs but also because she wanted to pursue her graduate work at a university that could propel her toward becoming an agent of social change.
Nnenna Franciamore (second left), at an educational outreach event. All images courtesy of Nnenna Franciamore.
Through her Walden education, Dr. Franciamore discovered her passion to create positive social change and serve the broader community. “I discovered a higher purpose,” she insists. Utilizing the transformational power of a degree, Dr. Franciamore founded a not-for-profit organization, Solid Foundations For Healthy Families, to strengthen educational resources for the underserved. There was a lack of both emotional and educational support for the families in her immediate surroundings in the Bronx, and felt compelled to act and make a difference.
Solid Foundations For Healthy Families and Solid Foundations Preschool are initiatives that seek to better the lives of families living in the Bronx area of New York City. Realizing how vital it is to set children up with the tools they need to succeed early on, Dr. Franciamore founded Solid Foundations Preschool, a licensed home family daycare. The preschool provides children with a research-based learning model, preparing them for entrance into kindergarten, and hopefully sets them up for an educational career full of successes. Accompanying that, Solid Foundations for Families assists parents in reaching equilibrium between their work and family time, offering free educational resources and support programs.
The typical families who use these services are either comprised of both parents working full-time jobs, or situations where one parent is raising one or more children and is employed full-time. The reality is that it’s often difficult for parents to carve out time to navigate the balance between their work obligations and the needs of their family. The programming that Dr. Franciamore has in place helps parents bridge these two worlds and establish a sustainable pattern for successful parenting. “The parent testimonials have been phenomenal,” says Dr. Franciamore. “Parents have really felt that, although kids don’t come with instructions, they’ve been able to reduce their stress in parenting and be more effective as parents.”
Dr. Franciamore has had a huge impact on her immediate surroundings by providing these necessary resources to the underserved communities within the Bronx. She was able to channel her education into a jumping off point to change her world and join the conversation surrounding underserved communities in the United States. “I gained a wealth of knowledge [at Walden],” she maintains. “It gave me the power to change my community, one family at a time.”