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 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

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

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

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

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

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

Miss Independent: April Spotlight

Alley’s House graduate: Keshawn

Alley’s House is proud to highlight our moms through the “Miss Independent” series. Each month we will feature one of our moms and talk about their journey to success. Alley’s House encourages all of our clients to accomplish their goals and dreams, while achieving independence for themselves and their families. If you are interested in helping Alley’s House achieve its mission, you can learn more about becoming a volunteer, mentor, or donor at

Each year, Alley’s House selects one young mom to receive our Mother of the Year award. The honor is given to one exceptional young woman who is working to create a strong foundation by overcoming personal obstacles and achieving her goals. She is honored at our Mother’s Day Picnic with a special gift basket and is a guest of honor at our annual luncheon. Our 2013 recipient, Keshawn, looks back at her time with Alley’s House and what motivated her to graduate the program, continue her education, and achieve a personal sense of independence.

“I wasn’t expecting my name to be called, because along with myself, there were other independent, strong, successful teen mothers who deserved Mother of the Year. I was surprised, but it made me feel good to know there were people who felt I deserved the award.” – Keshawn, 2013 Alley’s House graduate and recipient of the 2013 Mother of the Year Award

Keshawn came to Alley’s House in 2010 with her oldest son, Kenny, and her youngest, Keenan, on the way. Her goal was to finish her education, prepare for college, and take steps towards a career in psychology or criminal justice. She struggled with a lack of family support and dropped out of Alley’s […]

By |April 30th, 2014|Empowerment, Teen Mom Success Stories, Teen Moms|Comments Off on Miss Independent: April Spotlight

Working Towards the Future

With the ending of Women’s History Month, we conclude our ‘Reach for the Sun’ blog series. Over the past week, we have heard the stories of numerous women who overcame different obstacles to achieve their dreams. We began with Liz Murray, who grew up in extreme poverty, but learned with purpose and perseverance anything could be possible. Amanda Ray and Solange Knowles took the challenge of being young single mothers as inspiration to help mold their futures. Maya Angelou changed history by breaking racial barriers within the arts and becoming a strong African American role model for young women everywhere. We ended our week by taking a look at Juliette Brindak and America Ferrera. Young ladies who have used their success to assist in changing social norms, in order to help young women everywhere see their own potential, and follow their dreams.

Women’s History Month is a time where we not only pay our respects to the important women who have come before us, but also take a look around us at the future generation of young women ready to take the reins. At Alley’s House we encourage our teen moms to follow their dreams, and to understand the talent and potential that lies within each and every one of them. Dreams do not discriminate. No matter where you come from, what ethnicity you may be, no matter opportunities you have or haven’t been given, we can all make a difference.

By |March 31st, 2014|Empowerment|Comments Off on Working Towards the Future

Reaching for the Sun- America Ferrera

America Ferrera

Actress America Ferrera is best known for her roles in the television sitcom Ugly Betty and the movies How to Train Your Dragon and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She is the youngest of six children, and was raised by a single mother most of her life. The story of her mother’s life did not hinder Ferrera, but showed her that anything is possible if she believes in herself, and in what she is accomplishing.

She decided to pursue acting when she was seven years old, and grew up working in a community theater and appearing in school plays. While she was in high school, Ferrera landed her first role on television in Disney Channel’s original movie Gotta Kick It Up! From there, she launched her career and now uses her fame to speak about issues such as immigration reform and sex trafficking.

In 2007, America Ferrera received a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role Betty Suarez in the hit television sitcom Ugly Betty. People magazine also included her in its 100 Most Beautiful People list that same year. Outside of the entertainment field, Ferrera was recognized by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis for becoming a role model for young Latinas and was selected as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people. Now, America Ferrera is not only a successful actress, but she is also a dynamic social activist. After Ugly Betty finished its airtime in 2010, Ferrera partnered with a nongovernmental organization, Save the Children, dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children in the United States and around the world. That following year, Ferrera met with president Barack Obama to discuss immigration issues with […]

By |March 28th, 2014|Empowerment|Comments Off on Reaching for the Sun- America Ferrera