My name is Jennifer Valencia and I’m from Colombia, where 31% of the homes belong to single mothers and/or have women who are the head of the household. As a young child, I witnessed how many of them lived in extreme poverty and the intense violence in Colombia during the 90s that marked my life. My mother took our reality and investigated ways to better support mothers, like herself, in our community, which cultivated in her forming a non-governmental organization to support the women as they seek emotional, occupational, and spiritual well-being. Seeing her desire to help others increased my own and in the process, led me to migrate to the U.S. After migrating here, I enrolled in English and computer science courses at a place that primarily teaches Hispanic folks and it wasn’t until I did a few volunteer jobs there that an opportunity arose to belong to the Promotoras de Salud and Doulas program. This group not only sated my desire to help people, but has allowed me to follow my mother’s example in being a respectful, compassionate community leader with a love for others.
I wish that the single mothers in our communities knew that they are not alone and that there is a group of women, like us, who can guide them about resources and give them emotional, physical, and spiritual support. It is my hope that through our work, we help stop the vicious cycle of sociocultural or self-imposed barriers they may face. As doulas and community health workers, we hope to empower women by guiding them as they rediscover and learn to utilize their inner strength while further honing often unacknowledged talents. Now that I am a stronger woman, I see the outside world as nothing more than a place rife with problems and needs that require profound and radical changes to help it, like those we as an organization seek to pursue.
Professional Qualifications / Areas of Expertise / Certifications / Training