Like many moms, Sandra has become an expert juggler. She moves from school to job to swing set with ease. Son Jacob shares kisses and high fives each time he swings toward his mom. Sandra is working hard to achieve the education, career and parenting goals she has set for herself as a participant in California's
Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP). AFLP serves pregnant and parenting youth up to 19 years of age. In the program, a supportive case manager meets with participants, like Sandra, to focus on the needs of the new parent. "I really think that I am the center of the program because these are MY goals. They just help me accomplish them," she says.
Having a program that is youth-centric is intentional. Explains Solano County's Project Manager Deb Espinoza, "We want to make sure that the youth feel engaged and have a voice because the philosophy of AFLP is that the young person is their own best expert, especially in their own lives." As soon as Sandra joined the program, she knew she wanted to set a few immediate goals for herself: To continue her education and to be the best mom she could be.
Sandra understands that getting an education is essential to her future success. As a young mom, she feels strongly that continuing her education is the path to a better paying job and the financial stability her family needs.
It was Sandra's case manager, Katie, who played a key role in transitioning Sandra back into Solano County's education system after she had attended school in Mexico. Katie ensured Sandra's transcripts were translated and evaluated, which allowed the new mom to continue her high school classes without the need to repeat courses taken in Mexico. Says Sandra's case manager Katie, "It makes me really proud of her because she didn't give up."
After returning to school, Sandra committed to finding a job so that she could financially provide for her family. She quickly landed a position in Napa at an orthotics company. While she has been at the job just a couple of months, she is already excelling and has proven herself capable of more challenging tasks. This young mom is driven to not only set goals, but to also make those goals a reality.
Once Sandra finishes high school, she plans to attend college with the ultimate goal of becoming a medical or court interpreter. Fluent in both English and Spanish, she thinks this will be a career she will enjoy and one that can comfortably support her family.
"If I didn't have this program I would not be in school or have any interest in going back to school." Knowing that she is goal-oriented and responsible helps Sandra feel proud and keeps her moving toward an even better future for herself, her son and her family.