Women’s Health

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

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!

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

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

Intern Nicole Rocco is eager to empower teen moms

Nicole Rocco is a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington and is studying social work.   For two semesters, through August, Nicole will be a social work intern at alley’s house.

Nicole discovered alley’s house while searching for an internship at school. She found three organizations that she was interested in interning with, but after further research she knew alley’s house was the right fit for her.

“The word ‘empowerment’ is all over the place, and I think that empowerment is what really makes a difference in a person’s life,” she said. “If you empower someone in a few situations, they learn to apply it to other areas of their life as well. Empowerment allows the girls to realize that they do not have to be dependent on anyone or anything but can instead be independent strong mothers.”

As a social work intern, Nicole has the opportunity to shadow alley’s house Executive Director Allison Whitehead during her daily casework meetings. As the semester progresses, she will gain more and more responsibility in the meetings.

“I also work one-on-one with the girls helping them set and accomplish their daily goals,” Nicole said. “If a client has a need, I can look into the community to find resources that might apply to their need or situation.”

Nicole has the opportunity to see many of the challenges that the moms face when they come to alley’s house.

“By coming to alley’s house they are really working towards a better life for themselves and for their children,” Nicole said. “They are often balancing school, work, and their children and frequently come in quite tired.”

She is impressed with the commitment and determination that the moms exhibit on a daily basis.

“Some girls come from far […]

By |February 25th, 2013|Supporters, Teen Moms, Teen Pregnancy|Comments Off on Intern Nicole Rocco is eager to empower teen moms

The biggest reason girls drop out costs U.S. taxpayers $10.9 billion

According to a recent NPR story, of the million or so kids who drop out of school every year, nearly half are girls. And the single biggest reason girls drop out is because they get pregnant.

Many of the young women alley’s house serves are much like 20-year-old Lauren Ortega featured in Tuesday’s profile, one in a five-part series called School’s Out: America’s Drop Out Crisis.

Like Lauren, these young moms want an education, a job, a better life for their children and themselves…they want an opportunity to break the cycle of teen pregnancy. But many lack the support or guidance at home or have access to the tools to help them reach their goals.

In June, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reported that teen childbearing in the United States cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $10.9 billion in 2008, according to an updated analysis.

Texas taxpayers carried $1.2 billion of that financial burden.

These public sector costs would have been considerably higher had it not been for the one-third decline in the U.S. teen birth rate between 1991 and 2008.  The estimated national savings to taxpayers in 2008 alone due to the substantial decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2008 is $8.4 billion.

“Reducing teen pregnancy not only improves the well-being of children, youth, and families, it saves taxpayer dollars,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  “At a time when policymakers and others are intensely focused on cost-saving measures, funding proven efforts to reduce teen pregnancy is important, timely, and should be a high priority.”

The new analysis updates research originally conducted by Saul Hoffman, Ph.D. of the University of Delaware and released by […]

By |August 7th, 2011|GED, Teen Moms, Teen Pregnancy, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The biggest reason girls drop out costs U.S. taxpayers $10.9 billion

alley’s house offers counseling services to teen moms

By Jennifer Browning

Each Wednesday, Heather Lowrey, a licensed professional counselor intern, volunteers her general counseling services for the young women of alley’s house. She currently offers individual counseling sessions on an as needed basis and group sessions every other week. These counseling services are an addition to the variety of support services teen moms receive through alley’s house.

“The teen mom group is an open forum group session in which the moms can discuss any and everything,” Lowrey said. “Eventually we would like to add specific topics for discussion, but for now the moms get to pick whatever is on their minds! I believe some of the moms are a little apprehensive about counseling, especially in the group setting. There is a certain amount of trust necessary for groups to be beneficial, and the girls just need a little to time warm up to the idea. That’s part of the normal group process.”

Sarah, who has been enrolled in alley’s house for a year, said she also likes the group therapy sessions.

“It gives you a chance to talk about things that you need to talk about sort of at your own pace,” Sarah said. “But it gives me the chance to listen too. Sometimes I don’t want to talk, because sometimes I don’t like talking to counselors, because I don’t like feeling like the spotlight is just on me.”

Stephanie, a teen mom enrolled at alley’s house, said that she likes the group sessions because she has the opportunity to listen and hear other teen mom’s perspective.

“In the group setting, if you have a situation to talk about a lot of times, someone else is having the same problems, […]

By |June 15th, 2010|Teen Moms, Women's Health|Comments Off on alley’s house offers counseling services to teen moms

U.S. teen birth rate declines; Texas still third highest in nation

By Jennifer Browning

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. teen birth rate declined 2 percent in 2008.

“Declines in the nation’s teen birth rate are, of course, welcome news,” Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign said. “Lower rates of teen childbearing means more high school graduates, lower rates of child poverty, and a lighter burden on taxpayers.”

Declines were seen in all groups of teen except those 10-14 years old, where the birth rate remained unchanged. The rate dropped most sharply, by 4 percent, for 18- and 19-year-olds. The rate fell among all races and ethnicities, but fell to a historic low for Hispanics, which demonstrated a decrease of 5 percent.

But some caution that the numbers don’t show us that the trend is permanent. The teen pregnancy issue is still at large in the U.S. At present three in 10 girls get pregnant in the U.S. by age 20, there are more than 400,000 teen births annually, and the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and childbearing in the industrialized world.

For Texas, the state is still ranked as having the third highest teen birth rate in the nation. Dallas is currently ranked as highest in repeat teen births across the country.

The Obama Administration and Congress have made $185 million available this year for proven efforts to prevent too-early pregnancy and childbearing.

While alley’s house works with those teens who already have a child, the program  requires teen mothers to sign an agreement stating they will not become pregnant while they are enrolled and receiving alley’s house services.

alley’s house wants those young women who already have children to have the chance to complete their […]

By |April 12th, 2010|Support, Teen Moms, Teen Pregnancy|Comments Off on U.S. teen birth rate declines; Texas still third highest in nation

alley’s house’s Allison Whitehead and Chad Willis on DFW Close Up

more about “Teen Mom Speaks – Struggles and Benefits”, posted with vodpod
By Jennifer Browning

MTV’s Teen Mom is getting a lot of attention. The show which features teens who are trying to balance life, school and a baby has an audience of 3.6 million viewers. In the past month, the reality show has received scrutiny because many believe it glamorizes teen pregnancy.

Last week, Vanessa Brown from Dallas’ Channel 9- CW33 spoke to two graduates of alley’s house about Teen Mom and how it compares with their own lives. Ellie Ceja and Carly Allen both felt that the reality show didn’t paint a true picture of the teen mother situation.

Teen pregnancy is currently a hot issue in Texas. Texas ranks third in the nation as the highest teen birth rate. In Texas, every 10 minutes a teen gets pregnant at the same time another one gives birth.

And teen pregnancy as it relates here to Dallas? Dallas ranks number one in the nation in repeat teen births.

This past Sunday, Vanessa revisited the Texas teen pregnancy issue on DFW Close Up and spoke to alley’s house Executive Director Allison Whitehead and alley’s house Advisory Board member Chad Willis about how alley’s house addresses the teen mom issue.

alley’s house provides support services to teen mothers that these young women may not otherwise have. Through education and a variety of support services these teen mothers are empowered to become independent individuals, but also good parents.

Thanks to Mr. Willis alley’s house is also able to provide the opportunity for our teen mothers who proceed to college to be able to afford books and tuition through the Chad Willis Scholarship Fund.

alley’s house’s goal is to help teen moms take control […]

By |March 4th, 2010|Alley's House In The News, Scholarships, Support, Teen Moms, Teen Pregnancy, Uncategorized|Comments Off on alley’s house’s Allison Whitehead and Chad Willis on DFW Close Up