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

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

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

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

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

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

The moms show their creative side

Volunteer Cherie Shelton, along with Pati Douglas and Cathy Van Voorhis, hosted a jewelry making workshop last month that encouraged the moms to show their creative side and make something that they are proud of.

After Cherie met Allison Whitehead, the Executive Director of alley’s house, she knew that she wanted to find a way to get involved.  Hosting a jewelry making workshop at alley’s house was her unique way to make a contribution.

“I always feel beautiful and happy when I wear something I have made and I wanted to give this to the moms,” Cherie said.

Cherie grew up in a creative household. Her mother hand wove fabric on a loom and made hand crafted clothing for the family. Cherie’s father would buy watercolor paints for her and her siblings to cultivate their creativity.

“I have always had crafts in my life and they bring me a lot of joy,” Cherie said. “I wanted to create a program to take crafts to women who did not have this creativity in their life.”

Have a great workshop that you would like to host at alley’s house?  E-mail Angel Davis at today!

By |June 20th, 2012|Alley's House Volunteers, Life Skills, Supporters, Teen Moms|Comments Off on The moms show their creative side

Luncheon gives graduates tools for the future

In celebration of alley’s house graduation, POSH Couture Rentals hosted a luncheon for the alley’s house graduates on 3/21.

Emerald, Sophia, Yesenya, and Kaylee were invited to the POSH Couture Rentals Showroom in the Design District of Dallas on Wednesday afternoon for lessons on etiquette and a delicious lunch by Cassandra’s Fine Catering.

POSH business partners Jamie and Laurel decided to host an etiquette class for the graduates because they believe that it is necessary skills that young people are not always taught.

“We want the girls to feel confident in any situation they may encounter,” Jami said. “When interviewing for a job, first impressions are everything.  The young people I interview these days seem to not take manners seriously and it is still very important.”

Their goal was to make the girls prepared for any dining situation they may encounter in the future.

“Together we want to focus on basic table manners,” Jami said. “We will start with the activity of setting the luncheon table with the china, flatware, and glassware.”

As far as the menu, Jamie, Laurel and Casssandra wanted the meal to be somewhat challenging.

“I know soup is on the menu.  We feel that is a difficult course to maneuver,” Jami said.

Jami and Laurel offer this advice for the graduating moms.

“Be proud of who you are and who you can become.”

The graduates enjoyed the fabulous food, the amazing decorations, and the tips that will last a lifetime at the luncheon.

By |April 5th, 2012|Alley's House Volunteers, Life Skills, Supporters, Teen Moms, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Luncheon gives graduates tools for the future

Posh partners give back to teen moms

Jami Goetz and Laurel Howell are supporters of alley’s house and the owners of Posh Couture Rentals. Posh Couture Rentals is an upscale event rental company based out of Dallas, Texas.

They first became involved with alley’s house when they were asked to participate in an alley’s house fundraising event. They learned that alley’s house helps to improve the lives of teen mothers and children, and they knew they wanted to help.

“I was interested because we have both been in a similar circumstance” Laurel said.

Laurel and Jami were both teen mothers themselves. They both were fortunate to have a wonderful support system from their families; however they both had to be financially responsible for their children.

“I had to accept responsibility for my actions and knew that I only wanted the best for my son and it was up to me to make sure he received it,” Laurel said.

Laurel found it difficult in the beginning to find the balance between working and being there for her son.

“I went back to work after three weeks because I didn’t have a choice to stay home so the first year was very hard,” said Laurel. “Making sure your priorities are in order and that you have a plan are key in making progress.”

At first it was difficult for Jami to find a job after having a child.

“I often felt I was looked down upon for being an “unwed” mother,” Jami said. “The workforce felt I was not responsible and would not be able to hold down a job since I did not have a husband and may not have reliable childcare in place.”

Jami and Laurel both believe that alley’s house is an excellent resource for teen mothers.

“alley’s house is […]

By |February 20th, 2012|Alley's House Events, Alley's House Volunteers, Life Skills, Support, Supporters, Teen Moms, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Posh partners give back to teen moms

Watch How alley’s house Provides Hope to Young Moms in Our Community

As one of our valued supporters you are aware that less than 20% of all teen moms graduate high school, alley’s house works hard every day to change that statistic for the teen mothers that walk through our doors. You are aware of the financial impact young  single mothers who lack an education and employment that can have on our community, costing tax payers billions of dollars each year—and alley’s house is working to change it that here in Dallas. This year alley’s house has served 85 young mothers.
Now you can let others know about our efforts and successes.
Over the last five months Southwest Community for Motion Picture Artists (SCOMPA) has been working hard to help us spread the word about what alley’s house is about, and what we can accomplish with supporters like you who generously give to help us continue improving the lives for young women like Loida Garza featured in the video.
And if you haven’t had the opportunity yet, this is your chance to hear first hand from alley’s house tutors, staff members, board members who work hard to help us accomplish our mission, and teen moms that have benefited from alley’s house programs.

After watching this video we hope that you will share this with friends, family, and colleagues, and let them know why you choose to support us. We also invite you to post your comments on our YouTube page, and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

By |December 13th, 2011|Alley's House Volunteers, GED, Life Skills, Support, Supporters, Teen Moms, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Watch How alley’s house Provides Hope to Young Moms in Our Community