Haley & Dalia
TEEN SUCCESS, INC.
"When I first started out [in Teen Success] I was very shy. I felt like I couldn’t do anything and I had no voice." - Haley
When 18-year-old Haley started the Teen Success, Inc. program at ACT for Women and Girls in Visalia, she was struggling with some serious difficulties – she needed a stable home, transportation, healthy relationships, and examples of healthy ways to discipline her 2-year-old daughter, Dalia.
"When I first started out [in Teen Success] I was very shy. I felt like I couldn’t do anything and I had no voice. I felt dependent on everyone else even though I wanted to do things on my own,” says Haley.
During her peer learning sessions with other young moms in the program and her Advocate, Rosa, Haley found herself taking chances to voice her thoughts and opinions. “They let me say what I wanted to say,” says Haley. Rosa, her Teen Success Advocate, noticed that within six months Haley
was starting to show more self-confidence.
Even with a Medical Assisting Certificate from Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (formerly CCOC), Kassandra was turned down for a job as an emergency vehicle driver because of her lack of experience.
Kassandra enrolled in the Teen Success, Inc. program in 2012 while she was pregnant with Jonathan. She received her high school diploma in 2014 from a non-traditional school (along with her Medical Assisting Certificate) because she could get care for Jonathan there. In 2015, she was one of seven young moms in the program who received a Teen Success, Inc. Scholarship.
"It was hard [for Haley] because there were so many ups and downs, forwards and backwards, then she applied for the scholarship and everything changed.” - Rosa, Teen Success, Inc. Advocate, Visalia
Haley’s goal was to become independent and with Rosa and the Teen Success, Inc. program behind her, she slowly tackled each barrier to independence during group and her weekly coaching sessions.
“I heard about the Soroptimist scholarship and I encouraged Haley and a few other moms to apply,” Rosa recalls. “It was hard [for Haley] because there were so many ups and downs, forwards and backwards, then she applied for the scholarship and everything changed.”
Haley won the “Sharing Hope Award” from Soproptimist International of Visalia, a $1,000 scholarship she used to get her license and buy a car. Then, when the director of Family Services found out Haley was looking for a home for her and Dalia, she got her a 30-day spot in a shelter. Haley had her reservations about taking the spot because of a negative experience, but she chose to try it out anyway knowing Rosa would pick up the phone the moment she needed her.
On her first day in the shelter, Haley called Rosa, she was uncomfortable and thinking of leaving. “You want to be independent and be safe and lead healthy behaviors with your daughter,” Rosa reminded her. Hearing back the goals she'd set for herself and her daughter in the Teen Success program, Haley found within herself the strength she needed to stick it out at the shelter a little longer. Within a week, Haley and Dalia were moved into transitioning housing, a rare opportunity for families.
“I was in disbelief. I was so happy. I felt like an adult,” says Haley about the moment she found out she’d get housing. “We finally have a house that we can call a home for the next 18 months. We’re very stable. Dalia knows which room is hers.”
“We finally have a house that we can call a home for the next 18 months. We’re very stable and Dalia knows which room is hers.” - Haley
Haley created a stable, healthy home for herself and her daughter. She’s practicing a healthy discipline technique she learned at Teen Success in their new home. “Now I ask [Dalia], ‘Do you want a time out?’ and if she continues the bad behavior I sit with her inside of her tent for a minute or two while she cries,” says Haley. Her efforts are paying off because Dalia’s daycare is noticing the improvement in Dalia’s behavior around other children.
“Haley has grown so much,” says Rosa proudly. In just a year inside of the Teen Success program, Haley broke down the barriers to housing, transportation, and having healthy relationships. “She has six months in the program and she’s still attending regularly.”
Haley’s proud that not only is she graduating on time, she’s simultaneously becoming a certified CNA and hopes to become a pediatrician someday. She’s also working as a Canvasser for ACT for Women and Girls, Teen Success, Inc.'s Visalia program partner.
"Now I think, ‘I’m doing this and I can do it on my own. I will not stop.’” - Haley