40 x 60 inches of aged mahogany with a few dents surrounded by six chairs. On the right side sat the Matriarch, Grandma Geraldine, in a chair that everyone knew was reserved for her. Geraldine N. Coleman, often referred to as Geral, reared 7 children of her own and turned her home into a center for excellence, rearing and educating numerous others including her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other kids in the city of Fredericksburg, VA and surrounding counties in her home-based daycare. Geraldine loved reading and math, and although she never graduated from school, she was one of the brightest people we knew. She would often joke and say “I dropped out of school because I was smarter than my teachers.”
Although she never completed her schooling, it was important that her offspring and future generations would obtain their high school diploma and go on to pursue college degrees. Geraldine would gather her children at the kitchen table and assist them with their homework daily and teach them other life lessons. This tradition was carried on to her grandchildren and children she took care of in her home operated daycare. When returning to her home after school, it was routine to eat a bowl of cereal or some other afterschool snack and then find your “seat at the kitchen table” where she would meet you and assist with homework.
One of her goals in life was for her children and others to continue their education and give back to their community and society. In part through her dedication and teaching, she sent all four of her daughters to pursue higher education, along with many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Two of her granddaughters now volunteer with College Bound, Inc in Washington, DC and have committed to honoring the memory of their Grandmother by establishing “A Seat at the Kitchen Table” Scholarship to assist others in continuing their college education.
A word from the 2019 "A Seat at the Kitchen Table" Scholarship winner:
"My name is Sidnee Salter. I am currently a first-year student at Spelman College, majoring in Early Childhood Education. Thus far, I can say that I have had a very smooth transition from high school to college with the help of college bound. As a first-year student going to college away from home, there were several issues that arose that I definitely didn't take into account. For example, I don't have any family in Atlanta. This is something that I didn't think about as much, when it comes to getting help financially and physically. Being on the receiving end of College Bound has allowed me to gain the necessary support both emotionally and financially. The College Bound scholarship has allowed me to buy school supplies, snacks, and toiletries when my parents and family didn't have any money to help. Likewise, visits from College Bound staff made me feel more comfortable and supported as I navigate the college life away from everything I've known. Without the help of College Bound, my transition would have been more of a struggle for me. "
College Bound Class of '19, Spelman Class of '23
Sidnee had above a 3.5 first semester at Spelman and has secured a teaching position this summer with the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools.