Alliance for Girls is excited to announce the “When Young Moms Thrive, We All Do” (WYMT) initiative—a first of its kind program for and driven by young moms in East San Jose and Gilroy.

Alongside our partners, we spent two years advocating for Santa Clara County leaders to support efforts that promote safer, more inclusive, and responsive schools and public policies, especially for girls at the margins. We believe that by elevating and including diverse voices in the decision-making table, we are able to address the inequities facing girls and young women today. It is crucial to center young moms’ experiences and expertise in order to create effective and accessible solutions to address the gaps in services to young mothers. This program will work to address the harmful gender norms and stigma facing young mothers, and generate recommendations on how the County can implement programs that are culturally responsive and stigma-free.

The WYMT one-year pilot program will be co-led by Alliance for Girls and Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC) and is made possible with funding from the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. We are also joined in this effort by allies at the Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, CARAS South County, Teen Success Inc., YWCA Silicon Valley, and other local community organizations who are supporting young moms in the county.

The program will employ young moms ages 12-26 to conduct research on the current service gaps and provide recommendations on how to address them. This intensive fellowship will develop their leadership skills as community organizers, researchers, and advocates. Through the completion of the program, participants will be part of a network of young moms trained and committed to effecting systems change for themselves and their peers, with concrete policy proposals that will inform County leadership, policymakers, and service providers.

Do you know a young mom who would be interested in participating in the program? As part of the program, we will have $600 stipends for 100 young moms to participate in the research process. Please email viviana@alliance4girls.org for more information.

“As a young mom myself, I know the struggles and barriers that we young moms face everyday. My hope for this initiative is that together, we can reform the current systems that restrict us from obtaining the resources we need to strive and succeed for our children and their future.” – Viviana Arenas, Advocacy Fellow for AFG

Meet the 2021 fellows:

Arabella Guevara

Driven by her lived experiences navigating the juvenile legal system and a rough childhood, Arabella is committed to leading change in her community. She has completed YWFC’s Siblings on the Rise fellowship and is excited to be a part of the WYMT fellowship. Arabella is expecting in 2022.

 

 

Joycelyn Aguilar

Joycelyn is the program lead fellow. She has completed YWFC’s Siblings on the Rise and VERA Institute’s organizing fellowships. She is passionate about justice and hopes to bring change when it comes to the needs of young families.

 

 

Jocelyn Arenas

Jocelyn first joined YWFC in 2020, after finding out she was pregnant. Looking for a way to make a difference and to get involved in changing the system, she continued with Freedom Circle meetings, life coaching and internships.

 

 

Odalys Nolasco 

Odalys grew up on the east side of San Jose. She was a Siblings on the Rise core leader at YWFC, and this work deepened her understanding of systemic oppression. She is excited to use her experiences and knowledge to support the leadership of other young moms.

 

 

Priscilla Yruegas

Priscilla is passionate about empowering others through sharing her own experiences of trauma and navigating the system. She hopes to support other young moms to stand in their power while navigating similar challenges.

 

 

Viviana Arenas

Viviana Arenas is the 2021 Advocacy Fellow at Alliance for Girls where she joined the team to staff the WYMT one-year pilot program in Santa Clara County. Viviana is a mom of three, and is motivated everyday by her children who inspire her to create a better future for them.

 

 

Grounded in dignity and self-determination, this stigma-free and non-carceral approach is AFG living its values. We invite you to forward this email to anyone who would be interested in participating in the program, and stay tuned for events we will be hosting throughout the year! For questions or for more information about the WYMT program, please contact viviana@alliance4girls.org.