Meet Natalie, 2015 Mother of the Year

At seventeen, Natalie gave birth to her daughter Aubrey. After dropping out of high school and running away from home, Natalie was anxious and unsure about her future. Natalie first learned about Alley’s House from her CPS worker so she could continue her education and learn the skills necessary to be a stronger mother for nine-month-old Aubrey.

Like many of our moms, Natalie was afraid of being judged by others for her mistakes. When she enrolled at Alley’s House she found a nurturing, nonjudgmental environment that allowed her to focus on her future and support her personal growth. Natalie has been enrolled at Alley’s House for eight months and says that she has grown more confident in herself as a young woman and mother. Natalie has completed the Health and Wellness (20 hours), Personal Enrichment (5 hours), and PowerSource Parenting and Parenting Support Groups (20 hours). She is nearing completion on both the Financial Literacy and Workforce Readiness workshops, studying to take the GED in October, and has set a goal to graduate by December.

Each April, our participants apply for Alley’s House Mother of the Year award. Natalie’s application focused not only on the obstacles that she has overcome but her goals for the future. Paired with her strong attendance and active program participation she was unanimously voted by the committee to receive the Mother of the Year award. Her win showed her that her motivation was paying off and others saw her hard work to become a better mom and GED graduate.

Once Natalie completes her GED, she plans to enroll in Alley’s House CNA program and her long-term educational goal is to enroll in law school. You can learn more about Natalie’s journey at Alley’s House 2015 Luncheon on October 8th […]

By |September 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet Natalie, 2015 Mother of the Year

Welcome Alley’s House Newest Staff Member!

Alley’s House fall semester starts the week of August 24th and as we start back to school we’re pleased to share that Stephanie Shavers Jones will join the team as Program Supervisor.

Stephanie joins us after almost four years working for the Department of Family and Protective Services as an Investigator for Child Protective Services and two years with Health and Human Services as an Eligibility Specialist. She earned her Bachelors of Art in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology.

Stephanie was born in Texarkana, TX. She was raised by her father, a U.S. army veteran, and mother a U.S. Army civilian worker who made several tours to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Stephanie’s older brother followed in their parents’ footsteps and become a U.S. civilian worker and served time overseas. Stephanie’s passion for impacting the lives of children and families may be a product of her childhood as her parents were foster parents in addition to caring for their small town community, church, and country. Stephanie currently resides in Balch Springs, TX with her husband, son, and puppy named Caesar.

Stephanie is excited to join the Alley’s House team and shares that she wants to make a difference in the lives of people that she meet, which is why she choose a career path that would allow her to do so.  We welcome Stephanie to the agency and know that with her background, motivation, and rapport with young women and children that she will be a great asset and support system to our young mothers.

By |August 19th, 2015|Alley's House Team, Support|Comments Off on Welcome Alley’s House Newest Staff Member!

Volunteering from the Heart

Mary Katherine began her volunteer experience with Alley’s House in 2014 and was honored as Alley’s House 2014 Volunteer of the Year for her work and passion for the young women and children she served. Below is a reflection her time at Alley’s House.

As my time as an Alley’s House volunteer comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on how I have changed since my first day here. I grew from a timid, first-time volunteer, unsure of what to expect, and transitioned into a full member of the Alley’s House family. After a year and a half of rocking fussy babies to sleep, stuffing donor information folders, and organizing (and reorganizing) the boutique, I had the opportunity to be involved in all areas of Alley’s House.

Most importantly, I was able to form wonderful relationships with awesome women. From the staff who work tirelessly and lovingly to make Alley’s House the amazing place it is, to the moms who demonstrate awe-inspiring courage and perseverance every single day, each woman in the Alley’s House family has impacted me in a unique way. Alley’s House is an incredible place that helps to empower so many young women in the D/FW area.

Not only is Alley’s House successfully empowering young mothers in Dallas, but they help to empower every person that they encounter. I know I am a stronger, more independent woman because of my experiences as a volunteer. I am so grateful for Alley’s House, and I am so excited to see it grow in the future.

If you’re looking for an amazing volunteer experience like Mary Katherine’s, please call 214-824-8700 or email at info@alleyshouse.org. We’d love to have your support as a childcare volunteer this summer and fall, Tuesdays through […]

By |May 26th, 2015|Alley's House Volunteers, Empowerment, Support|Comments Off on Volunteering from the Heart

New Chapter, New Beginning

Alley’s House December mom spotlight is on Yazmin, who started the program in March and completed her GED and 60 units of learning by October. Yazmin, mother to Yazlin, aimed to pursue her educational and personal dreams and found that she needed the support system of Alley’s House to reach her goals. Since completing her GED, Yazmin has enrolled in Mountain View Community College classes in January 2015.

As part of this new chapter, Yazmin is excited to begin the journey to becoming a dentist and watching Yazlin grow. She shared that she is thankful for what Alley’s House has taught her as a parent and as a student, as it has helped make her less shy and expand her communication skills. In her role as a first-time parent, the parenting classes were essential to give her the tools needed to be a better mother.

When asked what advice she has for future graduates, Yazmin shared a quote which she reads to herself every day, Being a young mom means that we met a little early, but it also means that I get to love you a little longer. Some people said that my life ended when I had a baby, but my life had just begun. You didn’t take away from my future, you gave me a new one.

By |December 10th, 2014|Empowerment, Teen Mom Success Stories, Teen Moms|Comments Off on New Chapter, New Beginning

Generous Hearts and Charitable Spirits

Generous hearts and charitable spirits help make this season the most wonderful time of year! As the season of gift giving is upon us we encourage you to bring holiday cheer to young moms and their children with a $50+ donation to Alley’s House.

Adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices and circumstances beyond a girl’s control. It is a consequence of limited access to school, employment, and healthcare. Don’t let the holiday season pass without remembering moms like Patricia, our 2014 Mother of the Year and mother of Michael and Damien.

At the age of 14, Patricia’s mother was imprisoned. With her mother gone, she was forced to grow up quickly. Without her mother at home, she dropped out of school in 9th grade, turned to the streets, and became pregnant with her eldest son. During her second pregnancy, Patricia was referred to Alley’s House by a nurse.

In her own words, Patricia says, “Since joining Alley’s House I have been dedicated to the program despite obstacles in my way. The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was me. Alleys House helped me feel like I wasn’t alone and there was hope for me and my kids. I love my children so dearly. Thanks to Alley’s House parenting classes they have shown me how to love even more. My children are my number one priority and I drive myself to accomplish my goals so that they will not face the same hardships that I encountered. I finally realized that one person can make a difference and that person is myself.”

It only takes one person to make a difference. Your financial support is imperative to ensure these […]

By |December 1st, 2014|Support|Comments Off on Generous Hearts and Charitable Spirits

Cooking with Chef Gail

It is Thanksgiving Day and I can’t imagine a more appropriate time to be blogging about my experience with Alley House. Hello, this is Chef Gail Blair from Food Revelation and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be involved with this organization and these precious girls over the last 3 plus years.

About 4 years ago I was looking for a charity to get behind, a place to volunteer.   While browsing through opportunities online, I ran across Alley’s House. It hit close to home and really spoke to me. We’ve been attached ever since.   It didn’t take me long to realize what my purpose was there. It was to help teach these young women the importance of nutrition and its impact on health. In a nutshell, “We are what we eat”.  We cannot escape the fact that our bodies require nutrients that come from nature to fuel and heal our natural bodies. And the performance of our bodies must be affected by the quality of the fuel.  Good nutrition is paramount to health and can be obtained even on the tightest of budgets.   Reaching as many as possible with this message is my purpose and passion. Illness is not a natural part of life – Health is.

This past year I brought in Alida Morrill, The Colorful Chef to help mentor these young women in how to cook and eat for health and well-being.   I am so grateful for her and her specialty – “Keeping It Simple”. Alida and I added more meat recipes this year and encouraged the girls to have more input in the menus we planned.   We focused a lot on shopping for inexpensive, clean, organic produce and how to make […]

By |November 27th, 2014|Life Skills, Supporters|Comments Off on Cooking with Chef Gail

Health Education Field Trip

On October 29th Alley’s House toured Planned Parenthood’s North Dallas Shelbourne Health Center. Our moms and office staff visited the facility to learn more about Planned Parenthood women’s health services. Pictured below: Maggie Fuller and Linda Fyffe (Planned Parenthood Educator) alongside Alley’s House moms’ Kiera, Julia, Esmeralda, and Eva.

Staff and moms took the DART Rail to the health center and upon arrival, were greeted with treats, information folders, and a tour of the facility. Maggie Fuller, Health Center Manager, explained the mission of Planned Parenthood and the services  provided to the public.

What impressed Alley’s House and Planned Parenthood’s staff the most, was the depth and variety of the questions that the moms asked about their sexual health. One highlight of the visit was the condom demonstration with the Planned Parenthood exclusive, “designer” condoms.

Alley’s House aims to provide our mom’s learning opportunities and access to community resources. If your organization is interested in providing an educational tour, please email info@alleyshouse.org.

By |November 21st, 2014|Empowerment, Sex Education, Teen Moms, Women's Health|Comments Off on Health Education Field Trip

Fitness Fridays

5, 6, 7, 8 and 1, 2, 3, 4…the way most of us workout. It is the constant focus on repetitions, weight, and calories. At times, mixing that formula with the mind and body image of a teenage girl can be disastrous for their self-esteem. At Alley’s House we are introducing exercise not as a means to losing weight, but as a way to increase body image and self-esteem of our moms. We want exercise to be a positive release of stress, a way to bond with friends and children, and a source of fun rather than a chore that only the scale can prove their progress.

In September, Alley’s House implemented “Fitness Fridays.” On Fridays from 12-1pm, staff and clients come together to exercise. Currently, speed walking is the favorite form of exercise among clients. It is a fantastic way to get active, especially if you don’t like to run. Staff members work out in their business casual and sneakers to encourage moms that they can exercise in any outfit. Each week a client gets to choose the new walking trail so they can be an active part of the fun!

“Fitness Fridays” started with speed walking and we will then introduce yoga and meditation. Our “Fitness Fridays” are yet to be determined for 2015 so if you are interested in leading a workshop, please contact Alley’s House at info@alleyshouse.org.

By |October 24th, 2014|Life Skills, Teen Moms, Women's Health|Comments Off on Fitness Fridays

Take Control of Your Life

Alley’s House invited Melissa Clark with Drennan & Associates Christian Counseling to share a story that would resonate with our moms. If you are interested in guest blogging for Alley’s House please contact info@alleyshouse.org.

Several nights ago I heard a loud crash in my son’s room.  Now it’s not really out of the ordinary to hear loud noises coming from his room, but this was about an hour after he went to bed.  I found him with a deer in the headlights look.  This face reeks of guilt.  I asked him what happened.

He let me know a toy was thrown at the wall and a picture was knocked down.  Immediately he asked if it was his fault.  I couldn’t help but wonder if he was looking for someone or something to blame for his choice to throw a stuffed animal across the room.

Most likely he didn’t want it to be his fault because of the consequences that might have followed.

I let my son know his actions are his responsibility.  Nobody made him do it, this was his choice.  I empowered him to accept responsibility for his actions.

As adults, I’m curious how often we have the same, “____ made me do it.”  Theodore Roosevelt once said “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

Blaming others may seem like an easy way out.  An individual can dodge punishment or consequences.  But for each occurrence a blaming behavior occurs, an individual loses personal control.

Each of us has an ability to choose what we think, act, and feel.  Realizing this truth offers empowerment to take control of our life. Equally important is understanding we do not […]

By |October 21st, 2014|Alley's House Volunteers, Empowerment, Life Skills|Comments Off on Take Control of Your Life

Healthy Teens, Healthy Moms and Healthy Communities

Alley’s House long-time workshop facilitator, Linda Fyffe, shares about her experience with Alley’s House as a Planned Parenthood educator.

As a health educator, I am incredibly lucky to work with young women throughout the Dallas and North Texas communities. Specifically, I lead health education workshops on a range of topics important to teen’s health, including healthy relationships, unintended pregnancy prevention, anatomy and physiology, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections; and Talk First workshops to help young parents communicate with their children to keep them healthy and safe.

Texas teens are eager for honest, accurate health information and for strategies for communication and responsible decision-making. The small intimate workshops that we provide at Alley’s House are designed to empower young parents to take control of their own health. They realize that they can be role models for their children through healthy decision making. I am humbled and awed by the dedication and initiative the young women at Alley’s House possess. On top of all of their responsibilities as young mothers, they still make time in their busy schedules to attend and engage in these workshops to help themselves and their families’ future.

We are also proud to provide Planned Parenthood’s TeenAge Communication Theatre (TACT) performances at Alley’s House and schools and other community organizations throughout North Texas. TACT consists of Dallas-area high school volunteers who are trained on key health issues such as abstinence, body image, bullying, HIV/AIDS prevention, parent-teen communication, teen pregnancy and other issues important to teens. The TACT volunteers then perform interactive pieces for their peers based on these topics. More than 1,700 young people last year attended a TACT performance.

Alley’s House and Planned Parenthood staff have partnered for more than 15 years to make […]

By |September 19th, 2014|Alley's House Volunteers, Life Skills, Sex Education, Teen Moms, Women's Health|Comments Off on Healthy Teens, Healthy Moms and Healthy Communities