Along with its residential programs, the Elizabeth House also offers a high-school for pregnant teens and new mothers.
Through extensive communication with the Elizabeth House management and Elizabeth House High School Program Coordinator, we identified a need for resources and skill development on the girls’ personal economic independence, specifically moving to a place of their own. We designed a series of workshops aimed at providing the students with tools and financial literacy skills to prepare moving out of their parents’ home.
In the spirit of encouraging young women and girls to become agents of social change, we engaged Melanie Espindola, former Elizabeth House resident, current Users Committee President of the Elizabeth House, and member of the Young Parents Program at Head and Hands, to lead and design all workshops.
Drawing on her own experiential knowledge as a young mother, Melanie designed all workshops to be fun and engaging, staying away from conventional educational approaches. Her main focus was to help the girls gain confidence around their own skillset. Through the use of games and other engaging activities, she shared important information on renting laws, organizational skills, and local resources.
She also adapted the Incubator Toolkit to the specific goal of the girls (moving out), to help them develop a proper budgeting plan and an organized process for their first move. Throughout the program, Melanie engaged in powerful conversations with the girls, including the discrimination that young mothers often face both because of their gender, age, and status. They discussed common stereotypes on single parents, and ways to access helpful and supportive resources.