Women's History Month

During the month of March, we are asked to recognize and reflect on the thousands of ways women in our communities have provided healing and promoted hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud of the women and young moms who have stepped up in amazing ways to support themselves and their families. We also want to acknowledge the disproportionate, unpaid labor the pandemic has placed on women – like homeschooling children and caring for sick relatives (Source).

To honor all of the women and young moms who have inspired us with their grit and courage over the last three years, we’ve asked the New Moms community to share how they have experienced “women providing healing and promoting hope” during the pandemic. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are their stories…

Click on the images of New Moms’ participants and staff members below to expand them and click on their names in the accordion below to read their full reflections.

“I’ve seen women providing healing and hope in my very own life over the course of the pandemic by just being there for me! They made sure I am on top of everything such as food, household, and completing my goals with my coach. My family and friends who are women made sure that they kept reminding me who I was. I before the pandemic and helped me financially.”

Shanika, Housing Program Participant 

“I have witnessed many women, just in my little neighborhood, providing healing and promoting hope over the last two years. From women who have embraced homeschooling children who had difficulty attending on Zoom; to those who have found ways to make Friday nights spent at home fun for the whole family. One of my neighbors, who has continued to serve as a Nurse Practitioner in the NICU during COVID, has also held yoga classes for other women in her driveway. And my daughter stepped up and volunteered at a local animal shelter so that they could provide more people living alone with pets during the pandemic.”

Anne Schulz, Senior Director of Performance Management

“I’ve seen my sisters struggling through the pandemic and still sharing testimonial speeches to other women.”

-Yasmine, Housing Program Participant 

“I have seen it from the women on the executive team at New Moms thinking about the various ways that the pandemic has affected all of us and providing a space for self-care like giving staff mental health days and starting Wellness Wednesdays in March. I have seen it from a friend who randomly dropped off lunch for ‘no reason.’ And I have also seen it with friends giving grace to one another when prioritizing their own mental health.”

Lizveth Mendez-Witt, Chief Financial Officer

“I see women in my life providing hope and healing by sometimes giving us advice. They give us the right things to do and what not to do. They let us know what things can result in if we do the wrong thing. And they try to basically uplight us because I feel like younger moms, we don’t really get heard. Or no one really understands us. But as older women, they tell us and they show us what we need to do in order to become better in the future.”

-Angel, Job Training Participant & Team Lead at New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors

“I saw people promoting healing by being creative. I think that was key for how to handle the pandemic. Sharing ideas for how to cope. We started going on masked walks with friends in the woods. We had a socially-distanced, outdoor Thanksgiving. I also think both providing healing and promoting hope came from communication. People are not meant to be isolated. People got creative, ‘hey let’s do a science project on Zoom,’ ‘let’s do an art project on Zoom,’ ‘let’s have a birthday party on Zoom.’ I was the one organizing everyone and doing activities with the kids. I wanted to make it fun for them. That is my motivation. We women are so resilient. We can adapt to anything and find the best way forward for our families.”

Lorena Saz, Family Support Specialist (Family Support – Oak Park)

“One woman in particular that provides hope for me is my mother. She was the main one who was like, ‘Jylisa, are you okay? Jylisa, do you need to eat? Jylisa, do my grandbaby have this for when she’s born?’ You know, and then she gave me daily affirmation. She made sure that I was ready to be a mother. If that makes sense. She made sure I had all of the tools that I need – when it came to bottles, when it came to wipes, Pampers. I think I didn’t have to worry Pampers for like three, four months. She was basically my biggest support system.”

Jylisa, Job Training Participant & Team Lead at New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors

“When the pandemic, and even when the events of George Floyd had happened, I’ve seen women come together to create spaces of healing, refuge, and service towards those that were impacted, hurting, experiencing loss, etc. Even to this day, and working with the production assistants at Bright Endeavors, I’ve seen women come together to create spaces of care, support, and encouragement/empowerment for one another as women; and in the PA’s case, as working mothers.”

CeCe Tovar-Murray, Supportive Employment Specialist (Job Training)

“A woman that I’ve seen personally in my life providing healing and hope to the community is my aunt-in-law. She provides meals to the homeless and blankets. I mean like anything that she has that she doesn’t need anymore. She is very strong on that. She’s very big on that.”

-Aaliyah, Job Training Participant & Team Lead at New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors

“As professionals, homemakers, caretakers, volunteers, and more, women have brought healing and hope over the course of the pandemic. I can remember small acts of kindness made by women that made a huge impact on my survival: 

I remember being on Zoom with women while at work. I was amazed how we were able multitask making lunch, assisting children with online learning, while keeping up with the meeting agenda.

I remember rushing inside my daughter’s school building before the office closes and forgetting my mask in the car. When stopped in my tracks by the school staff for being in violation of mask requirement, a woman off to the side reaches a bag and pulls out a box of masks to share with me.

I remember the frequent wellness check-ins made by friends, family members, and church members during the pandemic. They would ask me multiple questions until they were sure I was okay. On the days I was not okay, they would listen and encourage me until I found hope in what I was dealing with.

I remember attending remote women’s bible study and prayer groups during the pandemic. The women in the group provided a safe place for me to express my feelings, doubts, and fears.

I remember the support I received from women in my graduate program. They understood the challenges I faced with balancing in school and home life, so they planned study groups around test dates and shared their notes when I missed class.

I remember going to work on empty, then being filled with the words of encouragement from my colleagues. Their words gave me strength I needed to get through the day.

I am surviving the pandemic because of the love and support that I received from these women. Over the course of the pandemic, they have provided healing to my heart and hope that kept me moving forward.”

Candyce Cabral, Workforce Development Program Manager (Job Training)

Women are providing healing and promoting hope every day at New Moms and our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors. Show your support by purchasing candles from Bright Endeavors or donating to New Moms.

Resources to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting women:

Other resources:

Posted on March 8, 2022

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New Moms strengthens families by partnering with young moms as they progress toward housing stability, economic mobility, and family well-being. We envision a future where every young family thrives.

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