On July 2nd, we celebrated another wonderful graduation of Empresas Small Business students. Twenty-eight students graduated and Denny Doyle, mayor of Beaverton, was in attendance to help celebrate their outstanding accomplishments. Good luck to all of the graduates as you start the next chapter of your small business journey!
Moving Forward: The Adelante Mujeres Blog
On a warm June evening, families shuffle through the pews of a beautiful church in Hillsboro, Oregon. It’s graduation day for our Adult Education students. As families begin to settle down before the ceremony begins, the four women graduating begin to slip on their caps and gowns; a symbol of one chapter closing and another opening. For Margarita, this moment has been a long time coming.
Daniela and Isbeidy are cousins who grew up living two very different lives. But, they both have the same goal — to be the first person in their family to go to college, an opportunity their parents never had.
At the end of every school year, we celebrate our Chicas and everything they have accomplished this school year. This year alone, 518 girls were enrolled in our Chicas Youth Development Program. 18 of those girls are high school seniors, and 100% of them are on track to graduate high school.
Congratulations to our Chicas, the graduates, the families, as well as our Chicas team for all of your hard work and determination.
Here is a glimpse at the Forest Grove School District Chicas Celebration, one of the three end of year celebrations....(click the photos to scroll through them).
Twenty-five of our Chicas participated in the Girls Strong Clinic where they had the opportunity to practice soccer drills, learn about general fitness and wellness exercises, and participate in a fun STEM activity, all facilitated by Portland Thorns FC players and youth coaches!
Gina loves a good birthday party. For her 30th, she invited 30 friends to a 30-item scavenger hunt. Teams were divided by lining up shortest to tallest, and the hunt ended at a local bar.
For her 33rd birthday, she threw a Scottie Pippen themed party. "I got all my old posters and hung them throughout the house."
"I wore his jersey and had various other Scottie Pippen themed celebratory items. We made coasters as take home gifts featuring the faces of many of the guests and we did a basketball skills obstacle course. The night ended with a friend fire dancing in the street! It was pretty epic."
But when it came time to start planning her 40th birthday, things changed. "I kept trying to think of something to do but it felt like a chore. I told my husband I just didn’t want to plan anything and if that meant I didn’t do anything, so be it."
So, instead of throwing a party, she decided to try something new: she would use her birthday to raise money for Adelante Mujeres' Capital Campaign.
Gina manages our ESPERE program here at Adelante Mujeres. ESPERE, the School of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, is a workshop that helps people develop proactive strategies to address and overcome conflict and learn the power of forgiveness. "I believe in the work that we do and I believe we do it well – I believe in the organization, not just the work."
Our Capital Campaign is raising money to renovate our new building to include Early Childhood and Adult Education classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and more. With $2M raised out of a $3M goal, construction is scheduled to begin this June.
"Adelante is home for so many people, including me," says Gina. "I’ve seen what Adelante means to immigrant families, to the community and to my co-workers. Adelante has my heart, and while so many other things are important, I choose to focus on my heart."
"I’ve seen how comforted Latino immigrants are when they arrive at Adelante - knowing they are safe, they can trust us and we will show up for them. Our new building will only serve to welcome the masses and show them the love! I also recognize the importance of this place for my program, ESPERE. People arrive and need safety to process all the harm they have experienced and conducting a workshop here is so comforting to most people. It allows them to feel safe, and when they feel safe, they can better work through their trauma. That is why a home for Adelante is so important to me."
So Gina set a fundraising goal of $4,000 on our online fundraising platform, Classy. She emailed the link to friends and family and spread the word on Facebook and Instagram.
"I think people were excited about giving a gift they knew I wanted. I’ve found when you tell people what you want, usually they want to help out!"
A few weeks later while sitting in a training on trauma-informed practices, Gina got a 'ping' on her phone. She looked at the notification which said she had reached her fundraising goal. Gina had raised $4,195 from 47 donors.
"I was so excited but I was in training so I couldn’t whoop and holler. I waited for a break and I texted some folks to share the news, but mostly I felt so honored and loved that people had donated to Adelante for me. There were some folks who donated who I only keep in touch with via Facebook and friends’ moms who donated – totally unexpected and yet totally amazing and endearing."
Because of Gina's generous donation of her birthday, we are one step closer to reaching our Capital Campaign goal, and one step closer to providing a safe, welcoming place for Latinos and immigrants in our community.
And, the tradition of epic birthdays didn't end. Gina was surprised by her husband with a birthday helicopter ride through the Columbia River Gorge, followed by a party with all of their friends.
"The day was gorgeous and fun and I got my party after all and I didn’t have to plan it!"
"It feels good to give back to an organization that means so much to me! I am really grateful for the generosity of my friends and family! And the ease of the Internet to communicate, keep in touch and share the good work that Adelante is doing!"
Angelica has dreams for herself. She wants to get her GED, and she wants to learn how to speak fluent English so that she can get a good job. But at twenty-two years of age with two children, achieving her goals is no small feat.
On May 1st, our team rallied together at the Salem capital to stand up for immigrant and worker rights. The event was organized by Causa, and featured a rally including speeches from Govenor Kate Brown who signed two pro-immigrant bills during the rally. The engergized rally was followed by a march around the capital building.
While the rally and march is broadly focused on immigrant and workers' rights, this year's event specifically called attention to:
1. Driver Licenses for All
2. Defending Oregon's Sanctuary law, No to IP 22
3. Together for Education
4. Standing with Unions
Cristina Delgado, Immigrant Solidarity Project Coordinator at Adelante Mujeres, organized Adelante's presence at the May Day rally.
"There are many families who don't have a drivers license and can't take their children to school, and it is a limitation when having medical appointments, just to mention a few examples", says Cristina. "We were also marching to say NO to IP-22. This initiative seeks to repeal our Oregon 30-year-old sanctuary law that was passed in 1987 to address racial profiling towards communities of color in the state."
A proud first-generation immigrant, Cristina grew up in Washington County and graduated from Oregon State University with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Philosophy. She was also a participant in our Civic Leaders Project.
"I feel fortunate that I was able to participate in the first cohort of the Civic Leaders Project", says Cristina. "I was able to meet passionate and talented leaders who are doing great equity work in their area of work. Now I have a better understanding of the various county departments and ways on how I can be involved at the County level."
As Immigrant Solidarity Project Coordinator, a brand new position for our organization, Cristina will lead the Solidarity Project which seeks to respond to the trauma and fear facing the Spanish speaking community in Washington County. Cristina will recruit and support Promotores de Apoyo a los Immigrantes who will address immigration issues through resources, workshops and civic participation.
"I look forward to seeing the Immigrant Solidarity Project be a sustainable grassroots initiative that can open more opportunities for collaborations, resources and an effective response to trauma and fear that Spanish speaking immigrants are facing in Washington County", says Cristina.
As downtown Salem echoed with chants of "Si Se Puede!", the crowd proudly marched, holding their signs tall and proud. A feeling of hope radiated through the crowd like an electric wave. This. This is what community looks like.
On Tuesday our Cocinemos participants graduated from their 10 week course! Cocinemos, a collaboration between the City of Hillsboro and Adelante Muejeres, teaches participants what it takes to successfully run a food-based business.
Thirteen participants completed the weekly two-hour sessions, and they celebrated the graduation with -- of course -- delicious food, potluck style! With a room full of talented chefs and artisans, the potluck had everything from traditional Mexican cuisine, to hand-rolled tempura sushi, to a hand-carved watermelon.
As a result of the Cocinemos Program, five participants will be using the Hillsboro Senior Center commercial kitchen and two participants will be selling at the Hillsboro Farmers Market to launch their businesses this year.
Congratulations to all of the graduates! And special thanks to the City of Hillsboro for your dedication to promoting entrepreneurship within the Latino community.
Adelante Mujeres is excited to announce an award of $350,000 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust as a contribution toward our Capital Campaign.
This funding will allow us to begin Phase II of our construction, which will include building state-certified Early Childhood Education and Adult Education classrooms, an outdoor playground, a commercial kitchen space, offices for our growing organization, and meeting space for our community partners.
These renovations will allow us to better serve our community by providing a high-quality learning environment for families, a start-up space for immigrant farmers and businesses wanting to contribute their goods and services to our local economy, and a space for cross-cultural exchange among the entire community.
We are grateful for the support of the Murdock Trust in helping our community to reach its dreams.
We are just a little over half-way to our fundraising goal for the Capital Campaign, and with your help we can get there. To learn more about the Capital Campaign or to contribute, please visit our website.
In partnership with Evergreen Middle School, STEM Beyond School is the Chicas program’s afterschool and weekend project bringing science, technology, engineering, and mathematic hands-on, minds-on activities and career exposure to 7th and 8th grade girls.
Chicas participated in activities like building levers, exploring marine engineering and neutral buoyancy with OMSI's "Sounds of the Sea" activity, building plastic cup towers using only rubber bands controlled by strings, and learned how to make finger casts, use syringes, take blood pressure and more with nurses from St. Vincent's Hospital!
So far this spring, we have enjoyed visits from St. Vincent’s Labor & Delivery nurses and Intel computer engineers, and look forward to visits with Airway Science for Kids, a wildlife engineer from the Bureau of Land Management, and trips to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, OHSU, and more!
Lucia grew up in a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico. As a young teenager she got pregnant while living with her parents and four siblings. Money was tight for the family, and she knew supporting another mouth to feed would be difficult for her aging parents. It was hard to find jobs there, especially for girls her age, and her best option was going door-to-door selling things like makeup, coffee, and tortillas. “We would do anything. Anything to support the family.”
Read the full story on Medium HERE.
It's official! The first-ever Civic Leaders cohort has graduated, and the celebration was an inspiring event to experience. The Washington County Civic Leaders Project, led by Adelante Mujeres in collaboration with Washington County, was developed in order to give women and men of communities of color and other underrepresented communities the chance to complete a hands-on leadership training. The training worked to equip participants with leaderships skills, enabling them to engage with their community and in county decision making.
Congratulations to all of the participants!
Last Friday, our Chicas got a special visit from Olympic gold medalist, Laurie Hernandez. Laurie competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics as part of the U.S. women's gymnastic team where she took home a gold medal in the team event and silver on the balance beam.
Thanks to Nike, who sponsored the event, girls from our Chicas Youth Development Program were able to hang with Laurie for a few hours, asking her questions and working up a sweat working out with her. Laurie, who is of Puerto Rican descent, had some great advice for our Chicas when it came to reaching for your dreams and feeling empowered as young Latinas.
It was an unforgettable night for all involved. Meeting strong Latinas who have achieved huge goals like winning Olympic gold is vital for the girls in our Chicas Program. We want every single girl in this program to know that she can accomplish anything that she puts her mind to, encouraging every girl to dream BIG.
Visiting Universities and Colleges across Oregon is an integral part of our Chicas Youth Development Program. Starting in 3rd grade all the way through 12th grade, our Chicas get to tour a variety of schools to get a first-hand look at what college is like. They get to ask the faculty all sorts of questions, learn about scholarships, tour the campuses, and play some fun games along the way!
In February alone, around 200 Chicas visited schools such as Western Oregon University, University of Portland, Lewis and Clark, and the University of Oregon.
We are proud to announce that First Tech Federal Credit Union is partnering with us to support and expand our Chicas Youth Development Program!
“Adelante Mujeres’ dedication to empowering the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators speakers to our credit union philosophy of people helping people,” said Nicole Frisch, Community Engagement Director at First Tech Federal Credit Union. “First Tech is excited to support the Chicas Youth Development Program and Makerspace to provide equitable access to educational opportunities that inspire curiosity, build confidence, and develop skills for a brighter future.”
First Tech has generously sponsored our Chicas Makerspace for our Capital Campaign and continues to support us in many other ways. Thank you, First Tech!
The bell rang to signal the end of another school day and the hallways filled with backpacked kids quickly making their way out of the building. But for a group of young Latina girls, this bell signals the start of something exciting -- their weekly Chicas session.
The girls anxiously run to their seats while Araceli, their Chicas Youth Facilitator, takes attendance. Araceli has been working in the Chicas Program for the past five months. “They are so willing to learn new things, experience new places, and share their culture,” says Araceli.
The Chicas Youth Development Program has been a part of Adelante Mujeres since 2008, beginning at three school sites. The program has now grown to twenty school sites, serving over five hundred girls.
Today, the Adelante staff has whipped up a tasty session: Nutrition. Araceli is joined by Mayra and Kaely, who run Adelante’s Nourish the Community Program. Mayra starts the session off by passing a stuffed carrot around the room having each girl share their name and their favorite fruit or vegetable.
Kaely explains, “The Nourish the Community Initiative through Adelante Mujeres started in 2012 as a response to growing diet-related health concerns, the diabetes and obesity epidemic that we were not only hearing about on the national news, but also observing with families in our Adelante community.”
Because Latinos are disproportionately impacted by this problem, and our staff consistently heard parents saying, “my child won’t eat veggies,” Nourish the Community merged with Chicas to provide fun, interactive nutrition classes.
“When Mayra and I come into the Early Childhood Education classrooms with a potted beet and show the children how beets grow, they get to touch the leaves, put their hands in the dirt, and paint with beet juice. Then they are more willing to also taste the beets and beet greens and they like them,” Kaely says.
Mayra holds up a bunch of fresh kale while talking to the girls about its nutritional benefits. When reflecting on her own experience growing up, she says, "I think the support of Chicas would have provided me with the opportunity to know how to care for myself and live a healthy, safe and secure life as a strong Latina woman."
The girls break off into smaller groups and rotate different activities like fruit and vegetable bingo and making their own smoothies using kale, apples, bananas, and almond milk. The classroom is filled with energy and laughter as the girls chop up their fresh produce. Excited to try their own concoctions, the girls decide to cheers first. They each sip their smoothies and, with some surprise, exclaim “It’s good!”.
The Chicas Program provides holistic support to low-income Latina girls. In addition to nutrition, Chicas facilitators cover a vast array of topics to ensure the girls gain knowledge and confidence in every aspect of their lives. So far this school year, Araceli and the girls have covered topics such as cultural and self-identity, cultural and personal values, communication in healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and goal-setting.
Jocelyn, a bright-eyed fifth grader with a vibrant smile glued to her face says this is the first year Chicas was offered in her school, and so far she loves it. She says that she has struggled with making friends in school, but all that has changed since starting Chicas.
Araceli explains that in the beginning Jocelyn sometimes lacked self-awareness about the effect her actions might have on others. But as time passed, she became more compassionate and considerate of how others might feel. Jocelyn says the most important thing she has learned through Chicas so far is that friends have to be respectful and fair. Now, she says she has lots of great friends that she met through Chicas.
At the end of the session, Araceli rounds up the girls and guides them out of the classroom. “I would’ve loved to have had a group of girls my age I could talk to about being Latina and know that they understood me", says Araceli. "I never truly appreciated my cultural background until I left for college. With a program like Chicas, I think I would’ve been more proud of my story and embraced the struggles it took for me to get to college”.
Araceli continued, “Chicas is a vital part of the community because the girls meet other Latinas with similar backgrounds and obstacles, and they bond with mentors that look like them and speak like they do. I can’t think of a more powerful way to give these girls a voice and teach them solidarity at the same time.”
As the last school buses pull up to shuttle the Chicas home, Jocelyn and her group of friends rush up and ask, “Can you take one more picture of us?” and they all pile in around Jocelyn for one giant hug. A lack of friends seems to be a thing of the past for these Chicas.
Because of supporters like you, there have been too many accomplishments and success stories to count this year. But we've boiled down our biggest and most exciting moments of 2017 for you.
The Chicas Program began its 10th year by implementing their services at 20 school sites serving more than 500 girls (Chicas began in 2008 at 3 school sites). This year, 100% of seniors in the program graduated high school and enrolled in college!
Empresas completed its "Cocinemos" Food Business Course, a pilot project, in partnership with the City of Hillsboro. This 11-week course, providing training for entrepreneurs in the food industry, will continue for another year for residents of Hillsboro because of the success of the pilot program!
100% of children in our Preschool classes demonstrated kindergarten readiness per the Phonologoical Awareness Assessment Literacy Screening.
Because of your amazing support, we moved into our new home on Main Street in Forest Grove. Best of all, we are HALF-WAY to our $3 million goal for our Capital Campaign! Thanks to you we are one giant step closer to starting renovations on our new building. Our plans include new classrooms, a Chicas makerspace, a commercial kitchen and more!
Our Forest Grove Farmers Market and CSA had the best year to date -- over 4 thousand farmers market visitors and 200 CSA members -- providing more locally-grown produce from Latino farmers to our communities than ever before.
100% of our ESPERE (the School of Forgiveness and Reconciliation) participants showed positive behavior changes.
Together we marched for issues that matter to us and made our voices heard!
This year's Fiesta of Hope and Dia de los Muertos events were more vibrant and successful than ever before!
We spoke at conferences across the country on topics such as Latino small business development, sustainable agriculture, and our Produce RX program.
YOU. Because everything that Adelante has accomplished this year, wouldn't have been possible without your generous donations and volunteer hours. Thank you! ¡Gracias!
Brianda crossed the Mexican border when she was six years old. Today she is a DACA recipient. We are proud to have her on our team here at Adelante Mujeres where she works to empower Latina youth in our Chicas program.
Watch her story:
Jaime moved to the U.S. from Mexico fifteen years ago, and for those fifteen years he has lived with his long-time partner, who is now his wife. They now have a four-year-old daughter together. Like most relationships of ten years or more, things haven't been easy for Jaime and his wife. Conversations escalated into fighting and yelling, making life at home increasingly unpleasant for the whole family. Jaime explains that in Mexico it's not common for men to say "I'm sorry," so those weren't words that often succeeded an argument in their home.
Jaime and his wife both agreed that they would try every avenue possible before separating or divorcing, and that's when they heard about our ESPERE workshop and decided to enroll together.
ESPERE, the Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Escuelas de Perdón y Reconciliación), is a workshop where participants learn how to manage conflict and process trauma, and learn the power of forgiveness. The ESPERE workshop is an integral component of Adelante's Adult Education program.
Gina Bell, ESPERE Manager, co-facilitates the weekly sessions along with Norma Hernandez. "I am constantly inspired by the grit and determination of the ESPERE participants," explains Gina. "Those who are willing to show up, weighed down by trauma and fear, sadness and hurt; they arrive hopeful and willing to go deep, work hard, and turn inward." Whether someone has suffered severe trauma or they just want to improve their emotional intelligence, ESPERE is for everyone.
Jaime didn't buy into ESPERE right away. He was the only man in the class, as not many husbands attend this workshop. "It's intimidating being in a room with all women." He honestly explains, "I came to the first two classes mad. I was the only man, why do I have to go? Second week, here again, what time is it?" But he stuck with it.
As the eight-week workshop progressed, Jaime and the other participants learned communication skills, told their personal stories in small trust groups, and did a lot of listening to each other. Jaime explains, "I learned many things from the women in the class. Something that really stuck with me was listening to my partners in my trust group when we exchanged experiences. Every woman tells her experience and that made me feel something special because I've never listened to stories like that in my life. Everyone has lived something different and I learn from everybody."
Jaime says in the third week he started thinking that this workshop wasn't too bad. "Today is the last class, and now I feel like I'm going to miss everyone." He and his wife have decided to stay together. He says that now when they start to fight, they relax and remember "ESPERE," and he immediately feels more at peace. "We think about the class and the teachers and we stop. Now we have something that supports us." Jaime now hopes that more husbands will think about attending the workshop as well.
It's graduation day in the ESPERE classroom and the space is filled with laughter and tears. The participants break off into their small trust groups for the last time, sharing tearful stories and long, embracing hugs. At the end of the class, one by one, the participants come to the front to receive their certificates of completion from Gina, followed by a celebratory meal of tamales, beans, coffee, and cake.
Jaime takes a few more photos of himself and the other participants to remember the special day. "It changed my life and all of the people that live around me...my family, my community, everybody. It's important that everyone knows that ESPERE exists. I feel good now because I practice this in my life and try to be a better person. And when you look at the result, well, it's good. Because you did something positive for your life. The expectation is to make a better world."