Alley’s House Summer of Empowerment

Alley’s House Summer of Empowerment provided young mothers five weeks of fun and education with book club, field trips to Klyde Warren Park, Dallas Museum of Art, and Aldi food store plus hands-on workshops to prepare them to return to school with parenting, college/career training, and life skills to enhance their support system.

These feats would not be possible without the support of workshop facilitators from AT&T, The Be Project, Dallas Woman’s Forum, Hope Cottage, Women Infant Children (WIC), and Alley’s House alumna Ashley Lindley. Pictured below is Alisa Thomas from AT&T, who led a workshop on Office & Professional Etiquette. This was a particularly unique experience as AT&T also brought along four of their high school and college summer interns to participate in the training.

Simone, an AT&T summer intern, said “The visit to Alley’s House was a great experience. Meeting with the teen mothers gave us a new perspective on the struggles of raising a family. The girls at Alley’s House were determined to create a better life for themselves and their families. Though they were a little shy, I felt their eagerness to learn more about the etiquette of the business world. Some of the girls were even professionally dressed and ready for the work environment. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and hoped the girls learned a lot! Through this experience these young ladies will be built for success and acquire great business skills. I wish them the best within this program and their future endeavors.”

Workshops like these make an enormous impact on our young moms as they prepare to navigate the working world. As Simone said, “Alisa’s presentation gave great insight on tools needed to be successful. The slide ‘The Ideal Employee’ […]

By |July 28th, 2015|Alley's House Volunteers, Supporters, Teen Moms|Comments Off on Alley’s House Summer of Empowerment

The Link Between Exercise and Mental Health

Shelly Gloyna, LPC-Intern supervised by Dr. Myron Jones, LPC-S, LCDC, is a mental health professional, Alley’s House program supervisor, and fitness enthusiast. During the first session of Alley’s House Summer of Empowerment she’s facilitated fitness workshops and highlighted the benefits of exercise in achieving mental and physical health goals. Shelly shares some simple lifestyle modifications that can be a cost effective way to improve mental health, physical health and overall quality of life.
Exercise has been shown to have a positive correlation to anxiety and depression. Endorphins or the “feel good brain chemicals” are released during exercise which creates feelings of happiness. During exercise you have the opportunity to be more social, increase confidence, lower anxiety and learn positive coping skills for life stressors. To ward off post-partum depression in particular, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week for pregnant women who are not suffering any medical or obstetric complications. During the first week of June, I had the pleasure of attending the Cooper Institute Personal Training Certification course to gain formalized education about promoting healthy lifestyles through exercise for our program participants as well as within the community. I look forward to sharing the benefits of healthy eating, nutrition and exercise with our moms!

By |June 25th, 2015|Empowerment, Life Skills, Teen Moms, Women's Health|Comments Off on The Link Between Exercise and Mental Health

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

Changing Lives and Enhancing Futures

A community partnership comes in many different shapes and sizes. Veritex Community Bank has had the privilege of enjoying a great partnership with Alley’s House for several years now, all thanks to our Women in Business Program. The program offers networking socials for female business owners and executives so it was a natural fit for Alley’s House founder to attend socials and even serve as one of our Charity Spotlights. From there, a partnership blossomed that included networking, a banking relationship and friendship with the staff.

Given this longstanding partnership, I was thrilled to get the call from Rachel, Executive Director, asking if Veritex Community Bank had the interest and time to assist with leading financial literacy classes for their teen moms. Quite honestly, the bank as a whole was more than meeting our CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) requirements, but we love our relationship with Alley’s House, believe in the Alley’s House mission and wanted to help out. I asked a couple Veritex teammates to help me so that we could fill as many dates as possible for the Spring. No “arm twisting” was required and AVP/Branch Manager Angela and AVP/Portfolio Manager Holly jumped at the chance to talk with these young women about topics such as Dealing with Debt, Attitudes towards Money, Budgeting and Credit Building. The Veritex philosophy is one of giving back and doing it with presence. We take the word “community” in Veritex Community Bank very seriously.

Angela, Holly and I knew we would enjoy our visits with the girls. We each are moms as well, with our own stories of joys, difficult times and the importance of financial literacy. One of us had been a teen mom. Another had been a […]

By |April 27th, 2015|Alley's House Volunteers, Life Skills, Teen Moms|Comments Off on Changing Lives and Enhancing Futures

Spring is Near and Change is Here!

Alley’s House mission is to empower teen mothers to achieve independence; a message that resonates with stakeholders based on their personal perspective and role. As Program Supervisor, I work hand in hand with our pathways participants to expand their perspective and identify what “independence” looks like for them.

Initially, some moms may express unfamiliarity and reservation dealing with topics on financial literacy and professional etiquette; questioning, “How will this help me on my path?” As they gain a deeper understanding of what their “independence” looks like they build an affinity to the wide range of topics and services Alley’s House can offer them.

In 2015, Alley’s House is focused on strengthening our programs;

We’ve slowly transitioned from a social work model to a community counseling framework to enable us to expand our counseling program. All of our pathway participants undergo a self-improvement intake session and participate in 24 weeks of one-on-one self-improvement sessions led by LPC-Interns or Master’s Practicum students.In mid-February, our bi-weekly Teen Mom Group reached a tipping point where moms felt safe to share personal stories, shed tears, and allow moms to connect to each other in a more personal way. That afternoon, as mothers prepared to leave for the day, they all naturally gathered in a circle laughing and engaging in positive conversation. The transition to a community counseling model has undoubtedly strengthened the unity among Alley’s House staff, interns, volunteers, and moms.

We are adding 20 units of curriculum to our core program to build a stronger financial literacy, professional development, and health and wellness curriculum. These will be modularized so we can take pieces of our core program to the community to reach moms through 5-session long community outreach workshops.

 

We are working on […]

By |February 26th, 2015|Alley's House Team, Empowerment, Teen Moms, Teen Pregnancy|Comments Off on Spring is Near and Change is Here!

Keep Moving Forward

As we take today to remember the work and passion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s important to recognize the numerous ways in which we have moved forward in our country despite those who try to stop us. As Americans we have continued to pursue the vision and dream of Martin Luther King Jr., to be more tolerant of one another, love each other and be unconditionally accepting of those that are different than us, whether it be by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion.

While trying to love and understand the needs of others, sometimes we forget to love ourselves. There is still a   prevalent need for mental health and comprehensive wellness within minority communities. According to Mental Health America, communities of color have historically experienced unique and considerable challenges in accessing mental health   services.

As Alley’s House fulfills its vision of empowering moms and children, we will focus on using integral and more detailed mental health services. By providing individual self improvement sessions, teen mom groups, parenting support groups and psycho-educational services within the community, we hope to encourage and teach families to work together in achieving positive, sustainable lifestyles that promote success and independence. 

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Shelly Gloyna, Counseling and Community Outreach Coordinator for Alley’s House

By |January 19th, 2015|Empowerment|Comments Off on Keep Moving Forward

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

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